Court rules VA must pay for veterans’ emergency room care

A federal appeals court ruled earlier this month that the Department of Veterans Affairs is required to reimburse veterans for emergency medical care received at non-VA facilities. The U.S. Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims has stated that the VA has been wrongfully denying reimbursement to veterans who sought emergency medical care at non-VA facilities.

According to an article published by NBC News, “Plaintiffs’ lawyers say that based on past estimates by the VA, the department is now on the hook for between $1.8 billion and $6.5 billion in reimbursements to hundreds of thousands of veterans who have filed or will file claims between 2016 and 2025In 2015, the court struck down a previous version of the internal VA regulation that refused any coverage for an emergency claim when another form of insurance covered even a small part of the bill. The court said the regulation violated a 2010 federal law.”

The recent federal court ruling determined that the department had violated federal law with its modification of the reimbursement regulation, saying that it created an additional obstacle for veterans by not allowing the VA to pay them back for medical expenses.

According to an August report released by the VA’s Inspector General, there are major problems in the way the VA reimburses veterans for emergency care at non-VA facilities. The report found that in a recent six-month period, the VA denied reimbursement to nearly 17,400 veterans, resulting in $53 million in out-of-pocket medical expenses that the government should have covered.

To learn more about this recent court ruling affecting veterans, click HERE.