Healthcare while Traveling - Rodney Harris

Are you planning a trip outside of the United States anytime soon? If so, are you service connected? Do you know about the VA’s Foreign Medical Program (FMP)?

The FMP is a health benefits program for U.S. veterans who are residing or traveling abroad and have a VA rated service connected condition/disability. VA assumes responsibility of payment for certain necessary health care services associated with treatment for those service connected disabilities or any disability associated with and held to be aggravating a service-connected condition. Veterans living in Canada are under the jurisdiction of FMP; however, inquiries and claims must be directed to the Foreign Countries Operations in Canada. Additionally, VA may authorize necessary foreign medical services for any condition of a veteran participating in the VA Vocational Rehabilitation Program (38 U.S.C. 31).

How do I know if I am eligible for FMP?

The eligibility requirements are different for veterans outside the U.S. than for those within the U.S. VA may authorize foreign medical services for veterans only for a VA rated service connected condition, or a condition associated with and aggravated by a VA rated service connected disability. Disability percentage has no bearing on determining eligibility for FMP.

Should I notify FMP if I am traveling abroad?

Pre-registration for eligible veterans is not necessary. However, veterans who are permanently relocating to a country under the FMP Office's jurisdiction are encouraged to notify the FMP Office upon establishing a permanent foreign mailing address (address and telephone number). At that time, arrangements will be made for FMP registration and the mailing of detailed program material. Included in the program material will be an FMP Program Guide which provides detailed information on benefit coverage and limitations, how to select health care providers and claim filing instructions. Veterans who are simply traveling abroad need not bother with notification. However, program information is available upon request. Please use VA Form 10-7959f-1 when registering with FMP.

What is/is not covered under FMP?

Unlike typical health benefit/insurance plans, where the range of benefits is standard among all enrolled beneficiaries/subscribers, FMP benefits are limited to services that are medically necessary to treat a VA rated, service-connected disability or for a condition that is associated with and held to be aggravating a service-connected disability. Supporting medical documentation is always required. The FMP does not pre-authorize services. A copy of the medical documentation must be submitted to determine if the care was related to a service connected disability. Claims filed under the FMP should be submitted no later than 2 years from the date of services or in the case of inpatient care, within 2 years of discharge date.

Covered benefits include:

 Durable medical equipment

 Emergency services

 Hospitalization

 Skilled nursing care

 Outpatient services

 Physical therapy, when under the direct supervision of a licensed physician

 Prescription drugs (including insulin) that are FDA approved

 Emergency ambulance services to the nearest medical facility for a VA rated service connected disability

 HISA-Home Improvement and Structural Alteration grant (must be preauthorized)

There are a number of exclusions to FMP, so before relocating contact the Health Administration Center in Denver, Colorado at 303-331-7950 for help. For more information visit the PC@HAC website at or contact your local PVA NSO for assistance.