Tester Urges VA to Cover Emergency Care for Montana Veterans

Senator Jon Tester is demanding that the VA follow the law and cover the costs of emergency care for hundreds of thousands of veterans across the nation.

In a letter to VA Secretary Robert McDonald, Tester is strongly urging the VA to comply with the Emergency Care Fairness Act (ECFA). The ECFA was enacted in 2010 and directs the VA to cover veterans with third-party health insurance when that insurance doesn’t cover the full amount of non-VA emergency care. Yet since 2010, the VA has not complied with the law, denying hundreds of thousands of veterans’ reimbursement claims for emergency care.

“Most troubling is the fact that those who are most affected by the VA’s non-compliance with the ECFA are our elderly veterans, many of whom are living on fixed incomes and have limited resources to pay medical bills,”
wrote Tester, incoming Ranking Member of the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee. “Often, these veterans find themselves dealing with collection agencies as a result of emergency care received in the community. This potentially increases stress for these veterans, causes them to lose faith in the VA and keeps them from seeking future medical attention out of fear of acquiring additional medical bills for which they would be financially responsible.”

In addition to urging the VA to comply with the law, Tester also requested that the agency reopen all previously-denied claims.

Tester supported ECFA when it passed Congress in 2010.

Tester’s letter is supported by The American Legion, Veterans of Foreign Wars, Disabled American Veterans and the Paralyzed Veterans of America.