What Is the CHAMPVA Health Insurance Program?

Commonly referred to as CHAMPVA, the Civilian Health and Medical Program of the Department of Veterans Affairs covers most health care services for dependents of disabled veterans, explains the Veterans Administration. These spouses and children cannot be eligible for TRICARE.

CHAMPVA covers medically necessary and appropriate health care, states the Veterans Administration. It further states this sometimes excludes care recommended by a physician. Covered services include, but are not limited to, ambulance services, medical equipment, family planning, inpatient care and medication. Hospice, mental health care, and physical therapy are examples of services that may require prior authorization or a medical review.

Only spouses and children of veterans rated totally and permanently disabled due to a service-related disability qualify for CHAMPVA, notes the Veterans Administration. Children covered by CHAMPVA maintain coverage despite divorce and remarriage, except stepchildren, who lose coverage when they leave the sponsor veteran’s household. Newborns must be established as the sponsor child’s dependent through a regional Veterans Administration office, and they must have a valid Social Security number to receive CHAMPVA.

Unless they are older than 55, widowed CHAMPVA recipients lose coverage when they remarry, according to the Veterans Administration. If that remarriage ends in annulment, death or divorce, widows may reapply for coverage. CHAMPVA coverage continues if the sponsor service member dies from the service-related injury, and dependents of service members who die in the line of duty are eligible for CHAMPVA if they aren’t eligible for TRICARE.