Health Reform WK-EDGE Veterans gain ACA coverage, too
Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Veterans gain ACA coverage, too

By Sarah E. Baumann, J.D.

Although nonelderly veterans were less likely than the general population to be uninsured prior to Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) (P.L. 111-148) implementation, the ACA chipped away at their uninsurance rate, which fell from 11.9 percent in 2013 to 6.8 percent in 2015. Consistent with the uninsurance rate among the general population, insurance rates declined at higher levels in Medicaid expansion states than in nonexpansion states. The authors of an Urban Institute analysis, conducted with funding from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, feel that veterans’ coverage gaps could be further reduced by increasing take-up among those eligible for Medicaid or marketplace subsidies, expanding Medicaid in additional states, and increasing enrollment in care offered by the Department of Veterans Affairs.

In addition to an overall decrease in the uninsured rate from 2013 to 2015, the authors also noted a decrease in the percentage of uninsured veterans reporting an unmet health need due to cost in the past 12 months, which dropped from 7.3 percent in to 4.5 percent. Uninsurance also declined among the spouses and children of veterans, some of whom were previously uninsured while their veteran relative was covered. Uninsured veterans were less likely to be employed or married, and more likely to have incomes below 138 percent of the federal poverty level, than their insured counterparts.

Assuming that the number of Medicaid expansion states remains at 32, the researchers predict that 277,000 uninsured nonelderly veterans are expected to live in Medicaid expansion states in 2017, 70 percent of whom are expected to qualify for Medicaid or subsidized marketplace coverage, and 30 percent of whom would not be eligible for ACA assistance. The authors predict that 327,000 veterans will live in nonexpansion states in 2017, only 39 percent of whom will qualify for Medicaid or subsidized marketplace coverage, and 38 percent of whom will be ineligible for ACA assistance. The study authors opined that Medicaid expansion, along with encouraging increased take-up among Medicaid- and subsidy-eligible veterans and their families, could further reduce coverage gaps.

Companies: Robert Wood Johnson Foundation; Urban Institute

IndustryNews: NewsStory EnrollmentNews HealthInsuranceExchangeNews MedicaidNews MedicaidExpansionNews

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