VA Waives Copayments for Native American Veterans Following Tester Efforts

Chairman championed 2021 law to deliver copayment relief for Native veterans seeking earned health care; make copayments retroactive to January 2022

The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) announced today that eligible American Indian and Alaska Native Veterans are no longer required to make copayments for health care and urgent care received through the Department as directed by a law championed by U.S. Senator Jon Tester in 2021. Following a push from Tester, VA is also making these copayments retroactive and will be reimbursing eligible Native veterans for any copayments they made dating back to January of 2022.

“I’m glad VA is implementing the law to give long-overdue copayment relief to thousands of Native veterans seeking their earned health care,” said Tester. “This is a necessary step in ensuring those who served in uniform get the care they’ve earned, and I’ll keep fighting to hold VA accountable in delivering Native veterans their support.”

In 2021, Tester led his Committee colleagues in successfully securing a law to eliminate copayments for Native veterans accessing VA health care as part of a comprehensive end-of-year bill. At a Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee hearing last fall, Tester urged VA officials to quickly implement this law and make veteran copayment benefits retroactive to January 2022, in line with Congressional intent.

A staunch advocate of supporting Native American veterans, Tester fought to secure his American Indian and Alaska Native Veterans Mental Health Act as part of the an omnibus federal funding package last December to deliver tailored outreach and culturally competent mental health care to Native veterans. He is also continuing his push this year to pass his Native American Direct Loan Improvement Act to help Native American veterans achieve homeownership.


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