VA Central Iowa Health Care System
Become a Patient
All veterans are encouraged to enroll in the VA Health Care System. To begin the process, please complete an Application for Health Care Benefits. You can submit the form online, or you may print the form and mail it to us at:
VA Central Iowa Health Care System
Business Office - Eligibility
VA Medical Center
3600 30th Street
Des Moines, IA 50310-5885
You can also bring the form to the Medical Center located in Des Moines. The Eligibility Office is located in Building 3, rooms 1947 & 1949.
Eligibility forms can be turned into any VA CBOC.
Whether mailing or bringing your application, please include the following items:
- a copy of both sides of your current insurance card (including Medicare or Medicaid)
- a copy of your DD214, 'Armed Forces Report of Transfer or Discharge'
- (Purple Heart recipients only) a copy of your award letter if 'Purple Heart' is not noted on your DD214
To speak to someone in our eligibility office, please call 515-699-5888 or 515-699-5915.
While many veterans qualify for enrollment and cost-free health care services based on a compensable service-connected condition or other qualifying factor, most veterans will be asked to complete a financial assessment as part of their enrollment application process. Otherwise known as the Means Test, this financial information will be used to determine the applicant's enrollment priority group and whether he/she is eligible for cost-free VA health care.
Higher-income veterans may be required to share in the expense of their care by making co-payments. Veterans who choose not to complete the financial assessment must agree to pay the required co-payment as a condition of their eligibility. The co-payment amounts and income thresholds change on an annual basis. Based on their priority group, a Veteran may be responsible for making copays for inpatient care, outpatient care and pharmacy services.
If you served in the active military, naval or air service and are separated under any condition other than dishonorable, you may qualify for VA health care benefits. Current and former members of the Reserves or National Guard who were called to active duty (other than for training only) by a federal order and completed the full period for which they were called or ordered to active duty may be eligible for VA health care as well.
Minimum Duty Requirements
Most Veterans who enlisted after September 7, 1980, or entered active duty after October 16, 1981, must have served 24 continuous months or the full period for which they were called to active duty in order to be eligible. This minimum duty requirement may not apply to Veterans who were discharged for a disability incurred or aggravated in the line of duty, were discharged for a hardship or received an “early out.” Since there are a number of other exceptions to the minimum duty requirements, VA encourages all Veterans to apply in order to determine their enrollment eligibility.
Veterans Health Benefits Handbook
VA produces a personalized “Veterans Health Benefits Handbook” for each Veteran enrolled in the VA health care system. The handbook provides a current and accurate description of VA health care benefits and services. Your handbook will be tailored specifically to you with personal identifying information, and should be safeguarded as you would any other sensitive personal document.
The “Veterans Health Benefits Handbook” includes:
- Eligibility and health care benefits,
- Contact information for your preferred facility,
- Information regarding copayment responsibilities,
- Instructions on how to schedule appointments,
- Guidelines to communicate treatment needs,
- Patient rights,
- Ways to obtain copies of medical records and
- Other important information.
You will receive your personalized handbook via U.S. mail; therefore, you should have a current address on file with VA. Handbooks are mailed based on Priority Group, beginning with Priority Group 1 and ending with Priority Group 8. For more information, go to www.va.gov/healthbenefits/vhbh. You may also call VA toll-free at 1-877-222-VETS (8387) if you need to update your address or receive more information.
Health Care Benefits Overview
VA publishes the "Health Care Benefits Overview" booklet, which provides general information and frequently asked questions about VA’s medical benefits package available for all enrollees, and other information such as eligibility for enrollment.
The publication is available and can be downloaded at https://www.va.gov/healthbenefits/resources/epublications.asp.
We encourage you to refer to it whenever you have questions about your eligibility for specific health care benefits. More information is available at the following resources: