What is CHAMPVA, and how is it different from Tricare?
A. CHAMPVA and Tricare both provide excellent coverage, but they were created for two different groups of people. They are not related in any way; they have different eligibility rules and are governed by different federal laws and regulations. Tricare — originally called the Civilian Health and Medical Program of the Uniformed Services, or CHAMPUS, when it was created in 1966 — covers uniformed service family members and retirees. It was modeled on the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program’s High Option Blue Cross and Blue Shield Plan. CHAMPVA was created later by the Veterans Affairs Department to cover spouses and unmarried children under age 18 of veterans who had a 100 percent, permanent and total, service-connected disability. It provides coverage similar to Tricare. For more information, contact CHAMPVA, Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center, P.O. Box 469063, Denver, CO 80246-9028, or call, 800-733-8387.