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Medical Benefits Package
In October 1996, Congress passed Public Law 104-262, the Veterans' Health Care Eligibility Reform Act of 1996.  This legislation paved the way for creation of a Medical Benefits Package -- a standardized, enhanced health benefits plan available to all enrolled veterans.  The law also simplified the process for veterans to receive services.

Like other standard health care plans, the Medical Benefits Package emphasizes preventive and primary care, offering a full range of outpatient and inpatient services, including:
  • Preventive services, including immunizations, screening tests, and health education and training classes
  • Primary health care
  • Diagnosis and treatment
  • Surgery, including outpatient surgery
  • Mental health and substance abuse treatment
  • Home health care
  • Respite (inpatient), hospice and palliative care
  • Urgent and limited emergency care
  • Drugs and pharmaceuticals

The Benefits Package does not generally include hearing aids and eyeglasses, unless they are needed for a service-connected disability.  Although some veterans are still eligible for services that are not part of the Medical Benefits Package, veterans may need to apply for them on a case-by-case basis and special restrictions apply to each.  These include:
  • Nursing home care
  • Domiciliary care
  • Adult day health care
  • Outpatient geriatric evaluation
  • Outpatient respite care
  • Non-VA hospitalization or health care services for veterans with special eligibilty
  • Limited dental care
  • Readjustment counseling
  • Homeless programs
  • Sexual trauma counseling