Collins, Duckworth, Tester Introduce Bipartisan Bill to Reduce Veterans’ Health Care Costs & Protect Access to Health Care During COVID-19 Pandemic

Legislation would eliminate copays and cost sharing for veterans receiving qualifying COVID-19 preventive services

Washington, D.C. — U.S. Senators Susan Collins (R-ME), Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), and Jon Tester (D-MT) introduced bipartisan legislation to reduce health care costs and ensure parity for veterans impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. The No Coronavirus Copays for Veterans Act would ensure that veterans who receive health care from the Veterans Health Administration (VHA) are not liable for out-of-pocket costs for qualifying COVID-19 preventive services, including an eventual COVID-19 vaccine. 

 

“Our veterans have sacrificed so much for our nation, and we owe it to them to provide the health care they have earned through their service, particularly during the current public health crisis,” said Senator Collins.  “The tragic outbreaks of COVID-19 that have recently occurred at veterans homes underscore the importance of ensuring that veterans have access to preventive COVID-19 care.  Our bipartisan bill will help protect veterans’ health by ensuring that co-pays for preventive care like an eventual COVID-19 vaccine do not pose a barrier to our veterans.”

 

In March, Congress passed the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, which waived copays for qualifying items, services, or immunizations intended to prevent or mitigate COVID-19—including an eventual vaccine—for Medicare beneficiaries and privately insured individuals. However, the CARES Act did not extend these protections to veterans receiving VHA care. The No Coronavirus Copays for Veterans Act corrects this loophole to ensure that veterans are equally protected.

 

The No Coronavirus Copays for Veterans Act is endorsed by American Veterans (AMVETS) and the Service Women’s Action Network (SWAN).

 

Last year, Senators Collins and Duckworth introduced bipartisan legislation to make health care more affordable for America’s veterans. The Veterans Preventive Health Coverage Fairness Act would stop forcing our nation’s veterans to pay out-of-pocket costs for essential preventive health medications and prescription drugs and add preventive medications and services to the list of no-fee treatments that VA covers. Under current law, veterans must pay co-pays for preventive health care services that service members, military retirees, and civilians with private insurance plans receive for free.

 

A one-pager of the No Coronavirus Copays for Veterans Act can be found here.