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New rule waives copays at VA hospitals for Native American veterans

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has announced a rule change that will waive copays for Native American veterans.

The rule change will ease the financial burden of health care for the nearly 4,000 Native American veterans in Montana. Those veterans will no longer be required to make copayments for health care and urgent care received through the VA. Native vets will also be eligible to receive reimbursement for copayments made going back to January 2022.

The change is intended to bring equality to care received at the VA and the Indian Health Service, which does not require copayments.

The rule change is the result of a package of veterans’ legislation that was passed unanimously by the Senate at the end of 2020. That package was sponsored by Montana Sen. Jon Tester, who chairs the Senate Committee on Veterans’ Affairs.

In a statement, Sen. Tester said the copay reimbursements were “long-overdue” and the rule change represented a “necessary step in ensuring those who served in uniform get the care they’ve earned.”

John joined the Montana Public Radio team in August 2022. Born and raised in Helena, he graduated from the University of Montana’s School of Media Arts and created the Montana history podcast Land Grab. John can be contacted at
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