Thank you to Vietnam Veteran and Tin Can Sailor Carl Rectenwald for passing along this information.
Under the Mission Act passed by Congress and signed into law in 2018, veterans enrolled in the VA health care system can be treated in urgent care facilities without an appointment at no cost.
Urgent care facilities like Concentra, MedExpress, and CareNow are an increasingly common way for delivering healthcare to citizens across the country. They are walk-in clinics for those who need to be seen by a doctor for minor things like sprains, fevers, and sore throats, but not for broken bones of life-threatening illnesses that need emergency department hospital services.
The Mission Act of 2018 was designed to improve how veterans receive community care, that is, health care provided outside the VA system. Veterans should now have greater choice over their healthcare and more easily shift care between VA facilities and community providers. How well this has worked is being debated.
As of June 2019, most veterans enrolled in VA healthcare can be treated at an urgent care facility for free up to three times per year. After that, urgent care visitors will be charged a $30 co-pay. You won’t pay the co-pay to the urgent care provider. The VA will bill you later.
The exceptions to this rule are some veterans in Priority Group 6 and all veterans in Priority Groups 7 and 8. These veterans will be charged a $30 co-pay for each urgent care visit. You can read more about what Priority Group you may fall in here.
If you and your condition are covered, any prescription an urgent care doctor might give you for it will also be free for the first 14-day supply. Subsequent refills must come from your normal VA doctor.
For more information on this Mission Act urgent care VA benefit, go to https://www.va.gov/communitycare/programs/veterans/urgent_care.asp