VA Spouse Medical Benefits: Coverage for Rehab and Therapy Treatment
The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) offers many benefits to veterans and their dependents (e.g., children, spouses) for physical and mental healthcare.1 As the spouse of a veteran, you may be able to use VA benefits to access insurance coverage for rehab and therapy related to addiction.1
What Is the VA?
The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) is a government organization that provides benefits, essential services, and medical care to U.S. veterans and their families. The VA’s mission is “to provide veterans the world-class benefits and services they have earned — and to do so by adhering to the highest standards of compassion, commitment, excellence, professionalism, integrity, accountability, and stewardship.”2
The VA Health Administration is the largest integrated healthcare system in the country, providing care for over 9 million veterans each year at thousands of healthcare facilities and outpatient sites of care throughout the country.3
What Are the Medical Benefits for Spouses of Veterans?
If you are a family member of an active-duty, retired, or deceased service member, you may qualify for the TRICARE program.4 TRICARE provides coverage for healthcare needs, including dental plans, health coverage, prescription medications, and more.4
If you are a current or surviving spouse of a veteran with disabilities or a service member who died in the line of duty, you may be eligible for healthcare coverage through CHAMPVA, a program that covers some of the costs of your healthcare services.4
TRICARE offers several health plans for active-duty service members, veterans, and their families. These vary depending on your spouse’s status in the military, age, and where you live. The healthcare coverage plans TRICARE currently offers are:5
- TRICARE Prime: For active-duty service members.
- TRICARE Prime Remote (TPR): Managed care available in remote areas in the U.S. You can use TPR if your spouse’s home and work addresses are more than 50 miles (or one hour’s drive time) from a military clinic or hospital.
- TRICARE Prime Overseas: For active-duty members and their families. This provides managed care in overseas areas near military hospitals and clinics.
- TRICARE Prime Remote Overseas: For active-duty members and their families in designated remote overseas locations.
- TRICARE Select: Self-managed, preferred provider network plan for active service members.
- TRICARE Select Overseas: Healthcare option for service members and veterans in designated remote overseas locations.
- TRICARE For Life: Medicare-wraparound coverage for TRICARE-eligible beneficiaries who have Medicare Part A and B.
- TRICARE Reserve Select: For members of the Selected Reserve (and their families) who are not active duty.
- TRICARE Retired Reserve: For retired service members under the age of 60 and their families.
- TRICARE Young Adult: Qualified adult children of service members can purchase after eligibility for “regular” TRICARE coverage ends at age 21 (or 23 if enrolled in college).
- US Family Health Plan: For active-duty and retired service members and their families.
As the spouse of a veteran, you may be eligible for healthcare coverage through CHAMPVA if you don’t qualify for TRICARE and at least one of the following is true:6
- You are married to a veteran who has been rated by the VA as “permanently and totally disabled.”
- You are the surviving spouse of a veteran who died from a VA-related disability.
- You are the surviving spouse of a veteran who was rated “permanently and totally disabled” by the VA at the time of death.
- You are the surviving spouse of a veteran who died in the line of duty (excluding misconduct).
Veterans and their spouses can receive care at VA hospitals and healthcare clinics as long as they are both enrolled in the VA healthcare system (e.g., TRICARE or CHAMPVA). In some cases, spouses may receive care in the community (outside of the VA network) if they have CHAMPVA.7
Does the VA Cover Drug and Alcohol Rehab Treatment for Spouses?
Yes, the VA provides drug and alcohol rehab treatment depending on a veteran’s individual needs. A variety of levels of treatment may be covered by your VA health plan.
Substance use disorders (SUDs) are common in the veteran population. More than 1 in 10 veterans have been diagnosed with a SUD.2 Alcohol use disorder (AUD) is the most common amongst veterans, with 65% of veterans who enter a treatment program reporting alcohol as the substance they use most frequently.8 However, veterans and their spouses enter rehab to treat addiction to many substances, including alcohol, illicit drugs, and opioids.8
Addiction treatment services may include:9
- Medical detox: Medical detox allows you to withdraw from substances comfortably and safely with the help of medications and supervision from medical staff. This is often the first step in the journey to recovery before entering an inpatient or outpatient program.
- Inpatient rehab programs: Inpatient rehab programs offer around-the-clock care. With an inpatient program, you will live at the facility for a certain amount of time (e.g., three months) and attend individual and group counseling during the day. You will be provided with medical care and supervision from professional staff in a comfortable setting.
- Outpatient programs: Outpatient programs allow you to live at home while attending treatment. Individual and group counseling are an integral part of outpatient programs, where you will learn about addiction.
- Intensive outpatient programs (IOP): IOPs require you to attend treatment several days a week for a few hours each day. This is more time-intensive than traditional outpatient programs, but you can still live at home.
- Partial hospitalization programs (PHP): PHPs are similar to inpatient treatment, but you can live at home. You will attend the program approximately five days a week for several hours a day.
- Aftercare: Once you complete an inpatient or outpatient rehab program, aftercare provides you with ongoing support in your recovery to help you maintain your sobriety, prevent relapse, and find ways to live a fulfilling, satisfying life while sober.
Check Your Rehab Coverage
If you’re struggling with substance use, it can be overwhelming to think about what treatment option is best for you. Knowing exactly what is covered can give you peace of mind so you can focus on recovery. To find out exactly what your insurance covers, you can call the number on the back of your insurance card, verify your insurance online, or fill out the form below.
Do VA Health Benefits Cover Mental Health Treatment?
Yes, the VA provides coverage for mental health services, including treatment for co-occurring mental health and SUDs. It is common for people with anxiety, depression, PTSD, and other mental health conditions to develop an SUD as a coping mechanism.10
The Affordable Care Act (ACA) was enacted to ensure that everyone who needs access to mental health treatment can get it. The mandate requires all insurance companies to provide coverage for 10 essential health benefits, including mental health and SUD treatment.11
How Much of the Rehab Cost Does the Veterans Choice Program Cover?
The Community Care program covers specific conditions for family members via reimbursements.12 You will, however, be responsible for copayments, which are billed through the VA. Check with the VA to determine how much your copayments will be for medical care, such as rehab and addiction treatments.13
Accessing community care (any care received outside of the VA network) must be approved before you seek treatment.14 Once your treatment is authorized, you can find an approved rehab facility or ask a VA staff member to help you find a rehab that would be suitable for you and approved by the VA.
What Should I Do If the Cost of Rehab Is Not Fully Covered?
As a veteran or spouse of a veteran, you can find some peace of mind in knowing that at least part of your rehab costs will be covered by your health insurance policy. If you are struggling to cover the costs of copayments or other out-of-pocket expenses, there are options to consider to help you pay the cost of treatment. Many rehab facilities offer sliding scale options, in which the cost of treatment is adjusted based on what you can pay. Other options you can consider include grants, loans, payment plans, and scholarships.
If you want to learn more about addiction treatment or have questions about your insurance coverage, you can contact us 24 hours a day at