Friday, February 25, 2011

Civilian Health and Medical Program of the Department of Veterans Affairs (CHAMPVA) for dependents up to age 26

I received an email from a friend concerned with health care for dependents up to the age of 26, he is specifically referring to Civilian Health and Medical Program of the Department of Veterans Affairs (CHAMPVA), not TRICARE:

Attached is a response by Senator Robert Menendez(D) NJ. It states that military & retired military children will be the only ones in our country without health care until they are 26. The military considers health care a benefit not insurance. The insert to provide coverage to this demographic was in the defense budget but cut before it was signed into law. Please contact your local representatives, news reporters or anyone that can help get this fixed. Please send this to everyone you know, the only way to get this fixed is to fight for what is right.

The text from the letter sent to him from Rep. Robert Menendez (D-NY) follows; notice that he does not indicate wether any action by the 112th congress will be taken, rather patronizes with this statement: "should this legislation be reintroduced in the 112th Congress:"

Thank you for contacting me to express your support for increasing the age of CHAMPVA dependent coverage. Your opinion is very important to me, and I appreciate the opportunity to respond to you on this issue.

As you may know, S. 3356 and S. 3801 were introduced during the 111th Congress, which would extend coverage under the Civilian Health and Medical Program of the Department of Veterans Affairs (CHAMPVA) to dependent children up to 26 years old. This provision was also added as part of the House-passed version of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year 2011, but was not included in the final version of the NDAA that was signed into law. Please be assured that I will keep your views in mind should this legislation be reintroduced in the 112th Congress.

Again, thank you for sharing your thoughts with me. Please do not hesitate to contact me if I may be of further assistance. I invite you to visit my website ( to learn more about how I am standing up for New Jersey families in the United States Senate.

Provided below is additional information for those of you who rely on CHAMPVA:

FYI, this benefit was included in S. 3356, extension of the “TANF Emergency Fund through fiscal year 2011 and to provide funding for summer employment for youth;” this bill was NOT approved on a bipartisan basis. This is one of the negative consequences when senators insert issues that have nothing to do with a controversial bill.

As for S. 3801, US Enemy Belligerent Interrogation, Detention, and Prosecution Act of 2010, it was never brought up for a senate vote but sent to committee of veteran affairs and there it remained.

The House passed H.R. 5136, NATIONAL DEFENSE AUTHORIZATION ACT FOR FISCAL YEAR 2011, which included “SEC. 600. INCREASE OF MAXIMUM AGE FOR CHILDREN ELIGIBLE FOR MEDICAL CARE UNDER CHAMPVA PROGRAM.” It went to the Senate, becoming S. 3454; the final mark-up of this bill, before it was passed, included TRICARE dependent care change to age 26, but did NOT include anything for CHAMPVA.

As far as I know, S.3801 is still in committee; this link:, dated October 08, 2010, states, “The Senate Armed Services Committee-reported version of the FY2011 NDAA (S. 3454, S.Rept. 111-201) included a similar provision for TRICARE but not CHAMPVA. Several standalone measures have been introduced to extend CHAMPVA coverage to eligible dependent children up to age 26: H.R. 5185, H.R. 5206, S. 3356, and S. 3801. There has been no legislative action on these measures.”

I don’t know why the CHAMPVA age 26 coverage was removed from the S. 3454 NDAA of 2011 while in committee and have not been able to find out any information to explain. I did find out from this link,, that “because this bill was introduced in a previous session of Congress (111th Congress), no more action can occur on it.” The same “no more action can occur on it” applies to H.R. 5185 and H.R. 5206 which may also have addressed CHAMPVA.

Bottom line, it appears this issue is dead in the water unless someone in the 112th congress brings it back to life. Be sure to pass this info back to your mailing list, they should contact their congressman/women, as you stated.

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