It was somewhat startling to learn that one in ten veterans are uninsured in the U.S. A report released earlier this summer by the Urban Institute’s Jennifer Haley and Genevieve Kenney (based on 2010 ACS data) found that 1.3 million of the nation’s 12.5 million nonelderly veterans did not have health insurance coverage and weren’t using Veterans Affairs (VA) health care. Nearly one million of their family members are also uninsured.
If you are scratching your head wondering why uninsured veterans are not getting medical care through the VA, the authors explain that while the Veterans Health Administration operates the nation’s largest health system in the U.S. with specialized care for veterans, some veterans are ineligible, cannot afford the cost-sharing or do not live in close enough proximity to a VA facility.)
The report did offer some hope for uninsured veterans and their families. Nearly half of the uninsured veterans and 35% of their uninsured family members could qualify for expanded Medicaid coverage (assuming the states move forward with the expansion). Another 40% of uninsured veterans and 49% of their uninsured family members could qualify for subsidized coverage through health insurance exchanges.
The Affordable Care Act offers states an opportunity to stand up for those who stood up for our country by moving forward on the Medicaid expansion.
To find out how many uninsured vets and family members are living in your state, check out the helpful tables included in the report.