About 10 percent of U.S. veterans under the age of 65 lack health insurance and are not being cared for by the Department of Veterans Affairs, either, according to a study published on Thursday.
The study estimated that 1.3 million veterans and nearly 950,000 members of their families lack health insurance. These uninsured military families account for 4.8 percent of the 47.3 million uninsured Americans, the Urban Institute and Robert Wood Johnson Foundation reported.
But the 2010 health reform law might help nearly half of these veterans get health care through expansions of Medicaid, because they make so little money, the researchers wrote.
“This is the first published report to provide estimates of uninsurance among nonelderly veterans and their families both nationally and at the state level and to assess the potential for the Affordable Care Act to reduce their uninsurance rates,” wrote the Urban Institute's Jennifer Haley and Genevieve Kenney, who used Census data on 129,000 veterans for their study.
“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," Haley and Kenney wrote.
“Nearly half (48.8 percent) of uninsured veterans will likely qualify for expanded Medicaid coverage, while another 40.1 percent have incomes that would allow them to qualify for subsidized coverage through state insurance exchanges, provided that they do not have access to affordable employer-sponsored insurance.”
Veterans are doing better than the civilian population overall -- just under 18 percent of the total non-elderly population lack health insurance. “Of the estimated 12.5 million nonelderly veterans nationwide, 1.3 million, or just over 1 in 10 are uninsured and do not use VA services,” Haley and Kenney wrote.