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HERC Health Economics Seminar

Uninsured Veterans Eligible for Medicaid Under ACA

by Jennifer Haley, ; Genevieve Kenney, Ph.D.
Seminar date: 11/21/2013

Description: According to the 2010 American Community Survey (ACS), one in 10 of the nation’s 12.5 million nonelderly veterans reports neither having health insurance coverage nor using Veterans Affairs (VA) health care. There are an estimated 1.3 million uninsured veterans nationwide, and an additional 0.9 million adults and children in veterans’ families are uninsured. Furthermore, uninsurance among veterans ranges widely across states—from under 5 percent to over 17 percent—and state variation remains even when adjusting for veterans’ demographic and socioeconomic characteristics. States also vary in levels of uninsurance among veterans’ family members. Both uninsured veterans and their family members report significantly less access to needed health care than their counterparts with insurance coverage. Four in 10 uninsured veterans and one in four uninsured spouses of veterans have incomes below 138 percent of the federal poverty level (FPL) and could qualify for Medicaid or new subsidies for coverage under the Affordable Care Act (ACA). However, fewer than half live in states that are planning to expand Medicaid by January 2014, while the majority live in states that have chosen not to expand Medicaid or have not yet decided whether to expand. Thus, many of these uninsured veterans and spouses of veterans will not have access to new coverage options under the ACA. In this cyber-seminar, we will present the findings from two Urban Institute reports on uninsured veterans and family members (; We will also outline their various coverage options under the ACA, including Medicaid/CHIP and exchange coverage as well as VA coverage. The presentation will be followed by discussion from Duane Flemming and DeAnn Farr of the VHA Office of the Assistant Deputy Under Secretary for Health Policy and Planning.

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