Unlocking VA Health Care Coverage for Addiction Recovery

Last Updated: January 26, 2024

Veterans often inquire about the scope of VA Health Care’s coverage for addiction treatment. In many cases, VA plans will cover addiction care. Join us as we embark on a journey to explore how VA health insurance can be a valuable resource on the path to addiction rehabilitation.

VA Health Care: Empowering Veterans on the Road to Recovery

Dive into the world of VA health care, a robust system designed to address a spectrum of health concerns. Among its comprehensive offerings are services tailored to combat substance use disorders and concurrent mental health challenges like PTSD and depression. Visit the VA Health Benefits page for detailed insights.

While the precise composition of each veteran’s health care package varies, addiction treatment is a common inclusion. Eligible members can access these services through specialized Vet Centers, which offer assessment, referrals and a spectrum of counseling options, encompassing individual, group and family services.

Addiction Treatment Programs Found Under VA Health Benefits

VA health benefits span a vast array of services crafted to address substance use disorders and co-occurring mental health conditions. These encompass:

  • Inpatient Care: A vital resource during severe or life-threatening situations, including medical detox programs that guide individuals through the withdrawal process with medications and support.
  • Residential Programs: Tailored, structured programs offering extended stays of 30, 60 or 90 days as per individual needs.
  • Primary Care: Accessible via family physicians and primary care providers, extending support for substance use-related concerns.
  • Outpatient Services: A community-based option encompassing individual and group counseling, including the flexibility of telehealth. Some outpatient services qualify as partial hospitalization, requiring 20 or more hours of service weekly, while others classify as intensive outpatient, offering at least nine hours per week.
  • Supported Work Services: Offering pathways to employment within the community, with coverage extended by the VA.
  • Co-occurring Disorders Treatment: A critical resource for veterans dealing with both substance use disorders and mental health conditions, known as co-occurring disorders.

How to Find Addiction Recovery Through VA Health Benefits

Embarking on addiction treatment with VA benefits can occur through two primary avenues: accessing services at a VA facility or tapping into the VA Community Care Network (CCN) to engage community providers.

Seeking Care at a VA Facility

Veterans keen on pursuing addiction treatment at a VA facility can kickstart their journey by applying for VA benefits. Eligibility hinges on factors such as military service duration, with exceptions for those discharged due to service-related disabilities or hardships.

Once eligibility is established, veterans can conveniently apply for VA benefits online. The streamlined online process takes a mere 30 minutes, complete with step-by-step guidance from the VA.

Once enrolled, locating a suitable VA treatment provider is a breeze through the VA’s online search tool.

Using the VA Community Care Network for Private Care

In cases where the desired treatment provider operates outside the VA network, veterans can turn to the Community Care Network (CCN) to access essential services. If you complete the pre-authorization process, the VA covers the cost of treatment. CCN becomes a vital option when the VA cannot provide the necessary quality care within a reasonable distance or when it’s more advantageous for veterans to receive care through a CCN facility.

Navigating the Community Care Network: A Step-by-Step Guide

Accessing services via CCN involves several sequential steps:

  • Consult Creation and Review: The journey commences with a discussion between the veteran and their VA doctor, initiating the “consult creation and review” process. This referral, or “consult,” undergoes thorough review by the Community Care department.
  • Scheduling: Following consult approval, the Community Care department arranges contact between the veteran and the preferred Community Care provider. They ensure the provider is in-network and proceed to schedule an appointment.
  • Authorization: Before attending the appointment, veterans must secure VA approval. Once scheduled and authorized, veterans receive a letter detailing the approved care location, type of authorized care and the duration of approval, complete with an authorization number for record-keeping. If a veteran needs care beyond the duration initially authorized, they will need re-authorization from the VA. 

Tips for Getting Private Drug & Alcohol Rehab with VA Benefits

Navigating addiction treatment through a private drug and alcohol rehab program can be a straightforward endeavor when armed with the right insights. Consider these tips:

  • Utilize information from the VA webpage for assistance in locating a CCN provider, with links to Medicare and TRICARE to aid in the search.
  • Proactively contact addiction treatment providers to inquire about their participation in the CCN.
  • Maintain open communication with the VA staff member responsible for your referral, as they play a central role in determining eligibility.
  • For inquiries, reach out to the Community Care department on weekdays from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. at 320-255-6401.
  • Explore resources available on the VA’s webpage for additional information.
  • Safeguard the authorization letter sent by the VA upon approval of your care, as it contains vital information, including an authorization number.

Coordinating VA Benefits With Other Plans for Seamless Care

The VA encourages veterans to integrate their VA benefits with other insurance plans, including Medicare, Medicaid and private insurance. To facilitate this coordination, veterans are required to provide information about any additional coverage.

Typically, when covering care for non-service-related conditions, the VA bills the other health insurance provider first. Payments from other insurance providers can offset some or all of the VA copay costs. Effective coordination also involves notifying the addiction treatment provider about multiple insurance coverages.

Authorized Length of Stay for Veteran Addiction Treatment

The VA prioritizes personalized care, taking into account factors like the gravity of addiction and related issues such as homelessness. These elements determine the appropriate level and duration of care.

For veterans opting for services through the CCN, the VA authorizes a specific length of stay. Should additional care be necessary beyond the approved timeframe, veterans can request reauthorization through their addiction treatment provider.

Your Rights and VA Health-Covered Rehab

While the VA offers comprehensive coverage for substance use disorder treatment, it’s essential to recognize that confidentiality may be limited in some situations. Understanding these nuances is crucial.

Under the Military Command Exception, certain HIPAA regulations may not apply to service members universally. Information concerning your treatment may be disclosed to Command officers for fitness-for-duty assessments. Generally, your information remains protected, unless there’s a serious risk of harm to yourself, others or the mission of the armed forces.

Navigating VA Health Benefits: Guided by Veteran Advocates

When in doubt about navigating VA health benefits, assistance is readily available. Start by engaging with your primary care provider through the VA. Self-advocacy plays a pivotal role; expressing your preference to seek care at a CCN facility can be instrumental in streamlining the process.

The Recovery Village is committed to supporting veterans throughout this journey. Our dedicated Veteran Advocates specialize in guiding you through the necessary steps to obtain care authorization. We collaborate closely with the VA’s Community Care Department to ensure you can access our services seamlessly.

The VA Journey: What Awaits in Health-Covered Rehab

Embarking on VA health-covered rehab through a VA-approved community provider exposes you to a diverse spectrum of services. The specific schedule varies depending on whether it’s an inpatient or outpatient setting, but here’s an overview of what to expect:

In an inpatient facility, you’ll adhere to a structured daily regimen. Each day commences with a nutritious breakfast, followed by a series of individual and group therapy sessions, interspersed with various therapeutic activities. Evenings offer some free time. Your treatment team collaboratively determines the best schedule for you. 

Choosing a VA Community Care Partner Rehab

When selecting an addiction treatment provider through the VA Community Care Partner program, thoughtful consideration is essential. Here are some key factors to keep in mind:

  • Accreditation: Opt for accredited facilities that have met rigorous quality standards, ensuring evidence-based treatment.
  • Trauma-Informed Care: Assess whether staff members are trained in trauma-informed approaches like EMDR, which are particularly beneficial for veterans.
  • Veteran-Specific Programs: Explore facilities offering programs tailored to veterans, including veterans-only support groups and veteran-based rooming arrangements.

At The Recovery Village, our Veteran Advocates are committed to guiding you through every step of the process, ensuring you can access the care you need. All our facilities undergo a thorough accreditation process by the Joint Commission, and many of our staff members are trained in trauma-informed care and EMDR therapy.

Veteran Recovery Is Our Mission

Our facilities have helped thousands of veterans overcome a drug or alcohol addiction. At Orlando Recovery Center, our treatment programs offer veterans:


  • Veteran Advocates who can navigate the VA on your behalf to enter treatment faster
  • Experienced clinicians trained in military culture and trauma-informed care
  • Dual diagnosis to treat addiction and mental health disorders together  
  • EMDR, a revolutionary treatment that alleviates trauma symptoms

Get your life back

Recovery is possible. Begin your journey today

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What To Expect

When you call our team, you will speak to a Recovery Advocate who will answer any questions and perform a pre-assessment to determine your eligibility for treatment. If eligible, we will create a treatment plan tailored to your specific needs. If The Recovery Village is not the right fit for you or your loved one, we will help refer you to a facility that is. All calls are 100% free and confidential.

All calls are 100% free and confidential.