Millions of veterans lack health coverage

More than 1.3 million working veterans don’t have health insurance and aren’t getting care from the Department of Veterans Affairs, a new study finds.

A report from the Urban Institute and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation says 10 percent of the nation’s 12.5 million veterans under the age of 65 aren’t insured. About 7.4 percent of veterans’ family members (about 950,000 people) also aren’t insured.

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Compared with insured veterans, uninsured veterans have served more recently, are younger, have lower levels of education, are less likely to be married, and are less connected to the labor force—all of which could contribute to lower access to employer-sponsored coverage, the report finds.

Unsurprisingly, many delay getting care due to high costs.

And though many veterans get insurance from the Veterans Affairs, many aren’t aware of what benefits are available to them. Others aren’t eligible.

Researchers Jennifer Haley and Genevieve Kenney wrote that the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act might help nearly half of these veterans get health care through expansions of Medicaid, because they make so little money.

“Although the ACA does not change the VA or other military health care systems and is not targeted specifically at veterans, it includes a number of provisions aimed at increasing access to affordable coverage that could benefit veterans and their families," they wrote.


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