Late last week Sen. Daniel Akaka, D-Hawaii, introduced new legislation to extend the age limit to 26 for veterans’ dependents on the Civilian Health and Medical Program of the Department of Veterans Affairs. About 336,000 individuals currently use the program.
Lawmakers have already introduced legislation to extend Tricare benefits to the dependent children of military members up until age 26, bringing the health care plan in line with new national standards passed in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. Under the old rules students could only stay on their parents' medical plan until age 23, but the health care overhaul added three more years.
But the changes did not affect military or veteran health care plans. The Tricare proposal has been submitted as both a stand-alone bill and as part of the fiscal 2011 National Defense Authorization Act. Last week Akaka said that veterans should receive that same assistance as well.
"I believe it is only fair to afford children who are CHAMPVA beneficiaries the same eligibility as dependent children whose parents have private sector coverage," he said in a Senate floor speech. "Though this Congress is in its final month, we need to open the discussion on this issue now."