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The Next PACT Act Deadline: September 30 Special Enrollment Period Toolkit

September 27, 2023

Between now and this Saturday, September 30, 2023, Veterans who deployed to a combat zone, never enrolled in VA health care, and left active duty between September 11, 2001 and October 1, 2013 are eligible to enroll directly in VA health care – without first applying for VA benefits. Veterans can apply online or in person at their local VA facility until 11:59pm local time on September 30, 2023.

Right now, we at VA are conducting a full-scale nationwide outreach campaign to connect with these Veterans and encourage them to enroll in VA health care before this deadline – including earned media, paid media, social media, events, direct outreach, and more. VA is the best, most affordable care in America for Veterans, and we want every Veteran to get the access they deserve.

But the deadline is approaching, and we need your help to raise awareness! This toolkit includes key messages, draft posts, key resources, and FAQs – please use it to help you spread the word about this Special Enrollment Period. Thank you, as always, for your partnership and all your support.

Key message:

  • Are you a Veteran who deployed to a combat zone but never signed up for VA health care? If you left active duty between 9/11/01 and 10/1/13, you should apply today.
  • There’s a special enrollment period right now that gives you a chance to enroll directly in VA health care without first applying for VA benefits.
  • VA is the best, most affordable health care in America for Veterans – and this is your chance to sign up.
  • Even if you don’t need this care today, you might need it tomorrow, or the next day, or 30 years from now. And once you’re in, you have access for life.
  • Don’t miss this opportunity — the deadline is September 30. Get the care you deserve today at VA.gov/PACT.  

Draft Social Media Copy 

  1. Are you a Veteran who deployed to a combat zone but never signed up for VA health care?

If you left active duty between 9/11/01 and 10/1/13, you should sign up now!

But act fast—the deadline is Saturday at 11:59pm. Apply now at VA.gov/PACT.

[insert below pact PSAs or infographic] 

  1. Are you a Veteran who deployed to a combat zone but never signed up for VA health care?This is your chance.

VA is the best, most affordable health care in America for Vets – and once you’re in, you have access for life.

Don’t wait. Apply by now at VA.gov/PACT. 

[insert below pact PSAs or infographic]

Key Resources and Fact Sheets:

Infographic

PACT ACT - The Next PACT Act Deadline: September 30 Special Enrollment Period Toolkit

Additional FAQ: 

Why should a Veteran apply for VA care?

  • VA is the best and most affordable health care in America for Veterans – and this is your chance to sign up.
  • Veterans who are enrolled in VA health care are proven to have better health outcomes than those who get their care elsewhere. And this year alone, VA has beaten non-VA hospitals in quality ratings and patient satisfaction ratings.
  • That’s because our clinicians know Veterans – they often are Veterans – and they know exactly how to help.
  • And VA health care isn’t only the best option for Veterans – it’s often the most affordable – with copays as low as $0 for prescriptions, urgent care, outpatient care, and more for some Veterans at VA.
  • So don’t wait – get the world-class care you’ve earned before it’s too late. Apply today at VA.gov/PACT. 

Are these the only Veterans who can apply for VA care without first filing a claim for disability compensation benefits?

  • Many Veterans are able to enroll directly in VA health care without first applying for VA benefits – including many Vietnam Veterans, Gulf War Veterans, Veterans who deployed to a combat zone and transitioned out of the service less than 10 years ago, and more.
  • Veterans who do not meet any of these eligibility criteria may still be able to access VA health care based on their income.
  • Veterans who apply for and are granted service connection for any health condition can also become eligible for VA care. 

What happens if a Veteran misses the deadline?

  • If a Veteran misses this deadline, there are still many ways for them to access VA care.
  • For example, if they apply for benefits and are granted service connection for any health condition, they can become eligible for VA care.
  • Veterans can also become eligible to enroll in VA health care based on their income.
  • For more information, visit https://www.va.gov/health-care/eligibility/.

 Why doesn’t VA just extend this deadline?

  • This deadline is written into law for this specific group for Veterans. But if a Veteran misses this deadline, there are still many ways for them to access VA health care.
  • For example, if you apply for benefits and are granted service connection for any health condition, you can become eligible for VA care.
  • Veterans can also become eligible to enroll in VA health care based on their income.
  • For more information, visit https://www.va.gov/health-care/eligibility/.

 How many people have enrolled to date? How many people are eligible to enroll? 

  • There are 1.78 million Veterans in this cohort, and 1.37 million of them are already enrolled.
  • For those ~400,000 Veterans who are not yet enrolled, we’re in a full court press reach them – sending emails, sending letters, and (for the first time in VA history) sending texts to ensure that they know about this deadline and have a chance to sign up.
  • Thus far, there’s been an 119% spike in this year’s enrollments over the past month – from 8,573 enrollees on 8/15 to more than 18,000 now.
  • And we’re going to keep pushing to get as many of these Vets into VA care as possible.

What do I get when I enroll in VA health care?

  • VA offers world-class, comprehensive health care – including yearly physicals, health assessments, free screenings, specialized care for issues related to military service, and more. This is true regardless of whether or not you have a service-connected condition.
  • VA health care can serve as your sole source of healthcare, or as a complement to other plans, and the care is portable, so the coverage follows you if you travel or relocate.