Friday, September 30, 2016

604,000 veterans could lack health insurance in 2017 if more states don't expand Medicaid

If no more states expand Medicaid, in 2017 about 604,000 veterans will be uninsured in 2017 and 54 percent—327,000—will be living in states that have yet to expand Medicaid, says an Urban Institute study funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. Of those 327,000 uninsured veterans, "39 percent will have financial assistance available through Medicaid or subsidized marketplace plans, while 38 percent would fall into the assistance gap and would only qualify for Medicaid if their state were to expand." (Urban Institute graphic: Projected rates in 2017)
Researchers used data from the 2011–2015 National Health Interview Survey conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. They looked at three areas: Uninsurance (veterans who did not have comprehensive coverage or VA services at the time of the survey); problems paying medical bills over the past 12 months; and unmet medical needs due to cost over the past 12 months. (Urban Institute graphic: Rates of Uninsurance, Unmet Needs, and Problems Paying Medical Bills Among Nonelderly Veterans)
The study found that between 2013-2015, the uninsured rate for non-elderly veterans (those aged 19-64 who have ever served active duty but who were no longer on active duty) "fell by an estimated 42 percent, declining from 11.9 percent in 2013 to 8.5 percent in 2014, and falling further to 6.8 percent in 2015. Over this time, veterans also experienced fewer unmet health needs, suggesting that increased coverage translated into improved access to care."

Researchers found that the The American Community Survey by the U.S. Census Bureau showed that between 2013-2014, the veteran uninsured rate dropped 2.4 percent. At the same time the uninsured rate for family members of veterans declined. In 2014, an estimated 1.2 million veterans and family members—706,000 veterans, 503,000 family members—were uninsured.

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