Health Resources for EPCVs
As Evacuated Peace Corps Volunteers (EPCVs), you went through a whirlwind of an evacuation from your Peace Corps service country. But how can you manage your health needs?
Since RPCV Health Crusade’s main focus is on health, we will focus on the health resources available to EPCVs. Obviously, there may be other non-health resources needed by EPCVs. But as a volunteer-run group, we are already stretched past our capacity. But in typical RPCV fashion, we are rolling up our sleeves and working hard to fill the gap. Some of these items are specific to EPCVs and some are available to all RPCVs. But for some items, there are time limits involved. So be sure to utilize the resources within the time they are available.
Peace Corps Wellness Stipend for EPCVs
Peace Corps just announced a wellness stipend for evacuated Peace Corps Volunteers (EPCVs). The $1,500 one time stipend helps cover expenses from the evacuation or other health and wellness costs encountered by the EPCVs. These funds are provided in addition to the evacuation and readjustment allowances.
For EPCVs, Peace Corps covers the cost of two months of travel and transition health insurance. This short-term insurance is provided by a third party. But it does not meet minimum essential coverage requirements under the Affordable Care Act (ACA). It does not cover any medical situation from service. This provided insurance is really meant to cover you for some traveling after service or time to transition into a more comprehensive policy. Essentially, something is better than nothing!
Previously, Peace Corps only paid for the first month of this health insurance following your close-of-service. And, the RPCV has the option to purchase up to another two months. Due to the evacuation, Peace Corps will now pay for the first two months of insurance for EPCVs. And, EPCVs can purchase one more month if purchased within a certain time. Per current laws, these policies can only be available for three months maximum due to their limited coverage options.
If finances are a factor, you may be able to get free or discounted coverage through the ACA Marketplace. Or, see if your parents, spouse, or cohabitation partner can add you to their insurance policy. If you are starting a university program, check if they offer health insurance. And check out our Resource Library for a wealth of information on ways to cut down on medical costs.
Post-Service Therapy Sessions
Following COS, Peace Corps covers the cost of 3 one-hour post-service therapy sessions to help with the transition. However, we could not find much information online. According to our health survey, many RPCVs and EPCVs were not aware that these sessions were offered or covered by Peace Corps. When we reached out directly to Peace Corps Post Service Unit for more information about these therapy sessions, we were directed to the Learning Space for information.
However, we are hearing concerns from the evacuated PCVs on whether taking advantage of these therapy sessions would affect the EPCVs’ ability to reapply. There seems to be certain restrictions and conditions about therapy applied to applicants. Will Peace Corps reject EPCVs who seek formal therapy when the program is restarted? Since Peace Corps pays for these sessions, does Peace Corps receive details about the nature of the discussions?
Post Service Info for EPCVs
The Close of Service Health Benefits Packet for EPCVs contain a collection of needed information for locating provider, obtaining referrals, and more. Be sure to get all your post-service examinations completed as soon as possible. There are timelines attached to covered evaluations. So if you do not get those evaluations in time, it could become a battle to get medical expenses covered.
RPCV Health Crusade Resource Library
The concept of health can be very broad. So please take a look at our Resource Library for additional resources on a wide variety of health topics. We made a significant effort to be inclusive and offer resources for a diversity of individual needs.
The Resource Library also contains a specific section related to Peace Corps. Here EPCVs can obtain links on Peace Corps information including medical records, medical reimbursements, medical/dental evaluations, and more.
We realize that cost is a significant factor on obtaining or maintaining good health and RPCVs are often challenged financially after service. So our Resource Library is focused on sharing free or discounted medical services and information in a broad inclusive manner.
Get Support From RPCVs and EPCVs
You are not in this alone. It may feel that some of your friends and family do not understand. Readjustment is not easy so take the time to Understand Reverse Culture Shock. And be sure to learn about Coping with Reverse Culture Shock.
Don’t forget to reach out to the local area rpcv groups. And there are just as many country-specific interest groups scattered across the country. There are many RPCVs who have gone through a country evacuation who can share their expertise. Also consider joining one of our support sessions to help navigate the experience with your peers.
You will get through this! And we are all here to help each and every one of you!