Become a Patient - VA San Diego Healthcare System
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VA San Diego Healthcare System


Become a Patient

Choose VA for your health care needs. With VA health care, each Veteran's medical benefits package is unique. You can apply for VA health care online from the comfort of your own home.


What do I need?

To help the enrollment process, it is helpful if you have the following information available when you visit:

  • DD214
  • Employment data
  • Any private health insurance coverage
  • Financial information from previous year
  • Information relating to your dependents and spouse such as social security number, date of birth and date of marriage.

Enroll now!

Start now by filling out the health care application. Once you have filled out the form, choose one of the steps below to enroll.

By Phone By Mail In Person
Call 1-877-222-VETS (8387) Monday- Friday 5 a.m. - 5 p.m. A VA representative will have your completed form sent to you for your verification and signature. VA San Diego HealthcareSystem
3350 LaJolla Village Dr.
Health Benefits & Enrollment Office, San Diego, CA 92161
***By appointment only due to COVID-19 pandemic. Call (858) 552-7523***
Enroll at any of our *Community Clinics or at the VA San Diego on the first floor at the Health Benefits & Enrollment Office, Room 1589, which is open M-F , 7 a.m. - 4 p.m. (*Except Rio Clinic)

What is the Affordable Care Act?

The Affordable Care Act, also known as the health care law, was created to expand access to coverage, control health care costs and improve health care quality and care coordination. The health care law does not change VA health benefits or Veterans’ out-of-pocket costs.

Your family members who are not enrolled in a VA health care program should visit Covered California to find coverage options or to answer your questions.

Three things you should know:

  1. VA wants all Veterans to receive health care that improves their health and well-being.  
  2. If you are enrolled in VA health care, you don’t need to take additional steps to meet the health care law coverage standards. The health care law does not change VA health benefits or Veterans’ out-of-pocket costs.  
  3. If you are not enrolled in VA health care, you can apply at any time.


Basic Eligibility

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 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

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:


Health Benefits & Enrollment Office
(By appointment only due to COVID-19 pandemic)
First Floor, Room 1589

VA Toll-Free
877-222-8387 Ext. Option 1

Health Benefits Guide
VA Health Care: Apply Now
Affordable Care Act