Many Veterans will no longer have to wait for a VA appointment or travel to a VA facility.

What is the Choice Act? On August 7, 2014, President Obama signed into law the Veterans Access, Choice, and Accountability Act of 2014, commonly referred to as the “Choice Act.” Technical revisions to the Choice Act were made on September 26, when the President signed into law the Department of Veterans Affairs Expiring Authorities Act of 2014 (Public Law 113-175).

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA’s) goal continues to be that of providing timely, efficient, and high-quality healthcare for Veterans. Veterans and VA employees alike nationwide have made it clear that there was need for reform of its system, and VA has been working hard to put these reforms into place.

One of these new implementations is that many Veterans will now have the option to receive non-VA health care rather than waiting for a VA appointment or traveling to a VA facility.

Am I eligible? Basic eligibility requirements are:

•You must be enrolled in the VA healthcare system.

•You have been told by your local VA medical facility that you will need to wait more than 30 days from your preferred appointment date or the date medically determined by your physician.

•Your current residence is more than 40 miles from the closest VA health care facility.

•You need to travel by plane or boat to the VA medical facility closest to your home. 

•You face a geographic challenge, such as extensive distances around water or other geologic formations (mountains, rivers, etc.) which presents a significant travel hardship.

How do I get a Choice Card? Every Veteran will receive a letter and a Choice Card in the mail with more details. To set up an appointment with a non-VA provider, call the VA at 866-606-8198 and they will work with you to ensure you are approved for care in your community.

Where can I get answers to questions? Please call the hotline at 1-877-222-VETS to ensure you are eligible, and to set up a non-VA care appointment or visit

Will it impact my current health care? The Choice Program does not impact your existing VA health care or any other VA benefit. If you are satisfied with your wait time at a VA facility and wish to continue waiting for VA care, there is nothing you need to do at this time. Non-VA care is only covered by VA medical needs, which have been approved by your VA physician. VA can happily schedule an appointment for other medical needs, but it can only cover the cost of care related to your VA-approved health needs.

What if I am not eligible? Just hold onto your card, you do not need to call or do anything.