VA Maryland Health Care System
Become a Patient
To receive VA health care, Veterans must first be enrolled with the VA health care system. We encourage all Veterans to apply for enrollment for VA health care, even if they have private health insurance and a community provider. It costs nothing to apply, and it may be one of the most important things a Veteran can do to ensure their continued health and well-being.
You can explore more below or call 877-222-VETS (8387) if you have additional questions or need help.
Why apply for VA health care?
Who is eligible for VA health care?
Why use the VA Maryland Health Care System?
How to apply for VA health care?
What documents and information are needed to apply?
What happens after submitting an application?
Scheduling your first VA clinic appointment
New patient orientation video
VA offers Veterans a comprehensive medical benefits package, which includes a variety of health care services from primary care to nursing home care for eligible Veterans. Enrollment in the VA health care system provides Veterans with the promise that comprehensive health care services will be available when and where they are needed. VA health care enrollment can also serve as an important safety net later in life.
Additionally, enrolled Veterans have access to VA health care throughout the country. VA is America’s largest integrated health care system, serving more than 8 million Veterans each year.
Here are more reasons to apply:
- No enrollment fees, monthly premiums or deductibles. Most Veterans have no out-of-pocket costs, although some may have to pay small copayments for health care or prescription drugs.
- Veterans can maintain their current health insurance and continue to see their community provider. This is known as “co-managed care” and it provides Veterans with the flexibility to take advantage of VA health care services when they are needed.
- If you are enrolled in VA health care, you don’t need to take additional steps to meet the health care law coverage standards.
- VA health care is rated among the best in the U.S.
- More than 1,200 medical facilities available to get your care. This means your coverage can go with you if you travel or move.
- Freedom to use other plans with your VA health care, including Medicare, Medicaid, TRICARE or private insurance.
- Enrolled Veterans who are travelling may receive care at any VA health care facility across the country without having to reapply.
If you served in the active military, naval or air service and did not receive a dishonorable discharge, you may qualify for VA health care benefits. Current and former members of the Reserves or National Guard who were called to active duty (other than for training only) by a federal order and completed the full period for which they were called or ordered to active duty may also be eligible for VA health care.
Eligibility for VA health care is dependent upon a number of variables, which may influence the final determination of the services for which a Veteran may qualify to receive. These factors include:
- Nature of a Veteran's discharge from military service (e.g., honorable, other than honorable, dishonorable)
- Length of service
- VA service-connected disabilities
- Income level.
Read more about VA health care eligibility or call 887-222-VETS (8387).[back to top]
The Veterans Affairs (VA) Maryland Health Care System is a dynamic and progressive health care organization that is dedicated to providing quality, compassionate and accessible care and service to Maryland’s Veterans. The Baltimore, Loch Raven and Perry Point VA Medical Centers, in addition to five community based outpatient clinics, all work together to form this comprehensive health care delivery system.
There are four easy ways to apply for VA health care enrollment:
To apply by phone, call 877-222-VETS (8387). VA staff members will collect the needed information and process the enrollment application for you.
Apply online. Simply fill out the application and electronically submit it to VA for processing. VA will search for your supporting information through its electronic information systems and will contact you if it is unable to verify your military service. For help filling out the application, call 877-222-VETS (8387).
Health Eligibility Center
2957 Clairmont Road, Suite 200
Atlanta, GA 30329
You may also apply in person at the VA Maryland Health Care System or any VA health care facility. Find the location closest to you.[back to top]
- Your most recent tax return
- Social Security numbers for yourself and your qualified dependents
- Account numbers for any current health insurance you already have (like Medicare, private insurance, or insurance from your employer)
The application also gives you the opportunity to indicate the VA Medical Center (VAMC) or Community-Based Outpatient Clinic (CBOC) where you prefer to receive your care. Find the location closest to you.
After you submit your application the VA will process it and you will receive a letter in the mail notifying you of your eligibility status.
If you are approved for VA health care enrollment, you will also receive a personalized Veterans Health Benefits Handbook in the mail that contains specific information regarding the health care benefits you are eligible for, your Enrollment Priority Group assignment, copay status, and other helpful information as a new enrollee. You can also learn more by watching the VA Maryland Health Care System’s New Patient Orientation Video.
If you are not eligible for VA health care enrollment, your letter will include the reason why you are not eligible and it will provide instructions on how to appeal the decision if you do not agree with it. You can also contact the Maryland Department of Veterans Affairs Service & Benefits Program to receive assistance filing a claim for a VA service-connected disability by calling 800-446-4926, ext. 6450. If the claim is approved, we encourage you to reapply for VA health care because your service-connected disability may change your eligibility status. Additionally, you are encouraged to reapply for VA health care if you have a change in your annual income as a result of a retirement, change in employment status, or another major life event.
If more than a week has passed since you submitted your application and you haven’t received notification of your eligibility status, please call 877-222-VETS (8387).[back to top]
Once you are enrolled for VA health care, you can schedule your first clinic appointment at your preferred location. To schedule your appointment, call the Appointment Call Center at 800-463-6295, ext. 7333 Monday through Friday between 7:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m.[back to top]
We encourage you to watch our New Patient Orientation Video for more information about the VA Maryland Health Care System and how you can make the most of the programs and services available to you. Learn about what to bring to your first appointment, pharmacy services, specialty care, our 24/7 Telephone Care Line, ways to stay connected with us, and more. Free DVD copies are also available through the Community Outreach Office for the VA Maryland Health Care System. To request one, call 800-949-1003, ext. 6071.
You can also click through the Resources linked on the right of the page and below to learn more about VA health care benefits in general.back to top]
If you served in the active military, naval or air service and are separated under any condition other than dishonorable, you may qualify for VA health care benefits. Current and former members of the Reserves or National Guard who were called to active duty (other than for training only) by a federal order and completed the full period for which they were called or ordered to active duty may be eligible for VA health care as well.
Minimum Duty Requirements
Most Veterans who enlisted after September 7, 1980, or entered active duty after October 16, 1981, must have served 24 continuous months or the full period for which they were called to active duty in order to be eligible. This minimum duty requirement may not apply to Veterans who were discharged for a disability incurred or aggravated in the line of duty, were discharged for a hardship or received an “early out.” Since there are a number of other exceptions to the minimum duty requirements, VA encourages all Veterans to apply in order to determine their enrollment eligibility.
Veterans Health Benefits Handbook
VA produces a personalized “Veterans Health Benefits Handbook” for each Veteran enrolled in the VA health care system. The handbook provides a current and accurate description of VA health care benefits and services. Your handbook will be tailored specifically to you with personal identifying information, and should be safeguarded as you would any other sensitive personal document.
The “Veterans Health Benefits Handbook” includes:
- Eligibility and health care benefits,
- Contact information for your preferred facility,
- Information regarding copayment responsibilities,
- Instructions on how to schedule appointments,
- Guidelines to communicate treatment needs,
- Patient rights,
- Ways to obtain copies of medical records and
- Other important information.
You will receive your personalized handbook via U.S. mail; therefore, you should have a current address on file with VA. Handbooks are mailed based on Priority Group, beginning with Priority Group 1 and ending with Priority Group 8. For more information, go to www.va.gov/healthbenefits/vhbh. You may also call VA toll-free at 1-877-222-VETS (8387) if you need to update your address or receive more information.
Health Care Benefits Overview
VA publishes the "Health Care Benefits Overview" booklet, which provides general information and frequently asked questions about VA’s medical benefits package available for all enrollees, and other information such as eligibility for enrollment.
The publication is available and can be downloaded at http://www.va.gov/healthbenefits/resources/epublications.asp.
We encourage you to refer to it whenever you have questions about your eligibility for specific health care benefits. More information is available at the following resources: