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March 14, 2024

VA Urgent Care Benefits Explained [2024]

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Did you know many Veterans are eligible for free VA urgent care benefits at over 4,000 VA-approved urgent care locations nationwide?

Yep, it’s true.

This article will explain everything you need to know about VA urgent are facilities as well as how to find VA-approved urgent care facilities near you.

Let’s begin!

What is VA Urgent Care?

VA urgent care refers to a benefit that allows Veterans enrolled in VA health care to use over 4,000 urgent care locations nationwide.

This service aims to treat non-life-threatening conditions quickly and efficiently, bridging the gap between primary care and emergency room visits.

Whether it’s a sprain, a mild burn, or symptoms of an infection, VA urgent care facilities are equipped to handle a variety of medical needs promptly.

Here are some examples of covered services:

  • Care for minor injuries and illnesses (like strep throat, pink eye, sprained muscles, and skin and ear infections)
  • Diagnostic services like X-rays and some types of lab tests
  • Some types of medicines and vaccines

Am I Eligible for Free VA Urgent Care?

Eligibility for VA urgent care services are as follows:

  • You must be a Veteran enrolled in VA health care.
  • You must have received care at a VA or in-network provider within the past 24 months.

To check your eligibility, call 1-800-MyVA411 (1-800-698-2411) (TTY: 711), select option 1, then option 3, then option 1.

Note: Family members can’t use your VA urgent care benefits.

How Do I Use VA Urgent Care Services?

  • Find a VA urgent care facility near you: Before seeking care, confirm that the provider is part of VA’s network. This information can be found by visiting
  • Identification and Documentation: Always show your VA Health Identification Card upon arrival and fill out any necessary intake forms. If requested, show your urgent care assistance card to facilitate eligibility checks. Pro Tip: If you don’t have your VA I.D. card, just give them your social security number.
  • Inform the Provider: Clearly communicate that you wish to use your VA urgent care benefit. Providers should call the number on your urgent care assistance card to verify your eligibility.

What Services Does VA Urgent Care Cover?

VA urgent care includes a range of services, from treatment for minor injuries and illnesses to certain diagnostic tests and medications.

Importantly, Veterans should not pay any co-pay at the time of their visit.

Any applicable co-pays will be billed later, depending on factors like priority group and frequency of urgent care visits.

Key Points to Remember

  • Emergency Situations: If you’re facing a medical emergency, head straight to the nearest emergency room. VA approval is not needed in emergency situations.
  • Prescriptions: Up to a 14-day supply of medications can be covered by VA if filled at an in-network community pharmacy.
  • Travel Reimbursement: Eligible Veterans can receive reimbursement for travel expenses to non-VA urgent care locations under certain conditions.

VA Urgent Care Services: Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

#1. Should I pay a co-pay at a non-VA urgent care clinic?


Don’t pay anything at the time of your visit.

If you have a copay, the VA will send you a bill.

Co-pays for urgent care are $30 in some cases.

However, it depends on factors like your priority group and how many times you go to urgent care in a year.

Learn more about VA urgent care co-pays

#2. Can I fill my urgent care prescription at a non-VA pharmacy?

Yes, the VA will pay for up to a 14-day supply of urgent care prescriptions from in-network community pharmacies.

Here’s what to know:

You must visit an in-network pharmacy in the same state as your urgent care visit.

Or you can fill your prescription through VA.

If your prescription is for a routine medicine or more than a 14-day supply, you must fill it through VA.

If you fill a prescription at an out-of-network pharmacy, you may have to pay the full cost.

You can file a claim to request reimbursement for the cost.

Find an in-network community pharmacy

#3. Can I be reimbursed for travel costs to a non-VA urgent care?

Yes, the VA will pay you back for the cost of travel if both descriptions are true:

  • You’re eligible for VA travel reimbursement and
  • You travel to get care at a non-VA urgent care location in your community

Note: The VA will pay for only one-way (not round-trip) travel costs for unscheduled care. 

Learn about VA travel pay reimbursement

#4. Can I use VA-approved urgent care as my primary care provider?


Urgent care is not a replacement for your primary care provider.

And your urgent care benefit doesn’t cover the preventive health care services your primary care provider offers.

Use urgent care when you need treatment right away for minor illnesses and injuries.

If you think the urgent care provider won’t understand your medical history or medicines, contact your primary care provider.

#5. What do I do if there are no in-network urgent care providers near me?

Contact your nearest VA health care facility.

All VA medical centers offer same-day primary care and mental health services.

If you think your life or health is in danger, call 911 or go to the nearest emergency room.

Know that we can only pay for your emergency care under certain conditions.

Learn more about VA urgent care, eligibility requirements, and examples of urgent care services by visiting VA’s dedicated urgent care benefit page.

Have questions?

Call 1-800-MyVA411 (1-800-698-2411).

[Download] the Official VA Urgent Care Fact Sheet

About the Author

Brian Reese
Brian Reese

Brian Reese

Brian Reese is one of the top VA disability benefits experts in the world and bestselling author of You Deserve It: The Definitive Guide to Getting the Veteran Benefits You’ve Earned (Second Edition).

Brian’s frustration with the VA claim process led him to create VA Claims Insider, which provides disabled veterans with tips, strategies, and lessons learned to win their VA disability compensation claim, faster, even if they’ve already filed, been denied, gave up, or don’t know where to start. 

As the founder of VA Claims Insider and CEO of Military Disability Made Easy, he has helped serve more than 10 million military members and veterans since 2013 through free online educational resources.

He is a former active duty Air Force officer with extensive experience leading hundreds of individuals and multi-functional teams in challenging international environments, including a combat tour to Afghanistan in 2011 supporting Operation ENDURING FREEDOM.

Brian is a Distinguished Graduate of Management from the United States Air Force Academy, Colorado Springs, CO, and he holds an MBA from Oklahoma State University’s Spears School of Business, Stillwater, OK, where he was a National Honor Scholar (Top 1% of Graduate School class).

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