Tucked away in the draft ARP is a provision widening the special status for veterans. You’ll find it in Section 8007, “Prohibition on copayments and cost sharing for veterans during emergency relating to COVID-19”
Basically, the Department of Veterans affairs may not charge a veteran any copayment or other cost share arrangement, “…with respect to healthcare under the laws administered by the Secretary…” This prohibition runs from April 6, 2020 through September 30, 2021. The Secretary is further charged with reimbursing any veteran who paid a copayment or other cost sharing in that time period.
Allow us to point out a couple of things:
- The language, as written, is not limited to healthcare related to COVID-19. Any veteran who made a copayment in that 16 ½ month period must be reimbursed, regardless of the medical issue the veteran was seeking treatment for, and
- Unless this same language applies to Medicare copayments, and we see no indication it does, the average American senior will not receive the same benefit.
If the absolution of copayments is being contemplated by the Biden Administration and the Congress, all federally subsidized healthcare should be treated equally.