Advertisement

You will be redirected to the page you want to view in  seconds.

Study: 1 in 8 vets under 65 is uninsured

Oct. 31, 2007 - 05:27AM   |   Last Updated: Oct. 31, 2007 - 05:27AM  |  
  • Filed Under

WASHINGTON — About one of every eight veterans under the age of 65 is uninsured, a finding that contradicts the assumption many have that all vets qualify for free health care through the Veterans Affairs Department, according to a new study.

  • Please enable JavaScript for your browser in order to use marinecorpstimes.com.com.
Want to read more?
Current Subscribers
Access to Marine Corps Times Prime is free for current Marine Corps Times subscribers.
Log in
Haven't registered online?
Activate Account
New Subscribers
Start your subscription to Marine Corps Times Prime for as little as 59¢ a week!
Subscribe

WASHINGTON — About one of every eight veterans under the age of 65 is uninsured, a finding that contradicts the assumption many have that all vets qualify for free health care through the Veterans Affairs Department, according to a new study.

Researchers at Harvard Medical School projected that about 1.8 million veterans overall lack health coverage. That's an increase of 290,000 since 2000. The researchers said most uninsured veterans are in the middle class and are ineligible for VA care because of their incomes. Still others cannot afford their co-payments, or lack VA facilities in their community.

"Like other uninsured Americans, most uninsured vets are working people — too poor to afford private coverage but not poor enough to qualify for Medicaid or means-tested VA care," said Dr. Steffie Woolhandler, an associate professor and a physician at the Cambridge Health Alliance.

The study is based on an analysis of government surveys released between 1988 and 2005. Veterans do fare better than the overall population when it comes to obtaining health insurance. Still, the Harvard researchers said the rising number of uninsured vets points to the need for more funding for VA. The best solution, they said, would be for universal health coverage in the U.S.

"Only the government can put men and women into military service and only the government can guarantee that they are covered after they serve," said Dr. Jeffrey Scavron.

The study notes that in January 2003, VA ordered a halt to the enrollment of most veterans who are not poor. The move was designed to reduce the backlog of patients waiting for care.

But Peter Gaytan, who monitors veterans' issues for the American Legion, said veterans now make as little as about $24,000 a year in some regions and still do not qualify for health coverage from VA.

"That decision created a large number of veterans who have served in the U.S. military who are denied access," Gaytan said.

Gaytan said the number of uninsured vets could rise in coming years if reservists returning from Afghanistan and Iraq have trouble getting back their old jobs.

"It will be an increasing issue that needs to be dealt with," Gaytan predicted.

Answers by RallyPoint

Join trending discussions in the military's #1 professional community. See what members like yourself have to say from across the DoD.

More In News

Start your day with a roundup of top defense news.

VA Home Loan
Rates

Search By:

Product Options:
Zip Code:

News for your in-box

Sign up now for free Military Times E-Reports. Choose from Money and Education. Subscribers: log in for premium e-newsletters.


This Week's Marine Corps Times

This Week's Marine Corps Times

Gen. Dunford's battles ahead
New missions, budget cuts and a tough decision in 2015

Subscribe for Print or Digital delivery today!

Classifieds
MilitaryTimes Green Trusted Classifieds Looking to buy, sell and connect on Military Times?
Browse expanded listings across hundreds of military installations.
Faces of valorHonoring those who fought and died in Operations Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom.
hall of valorThe Hall of Valor is a searchable database of valor award citations collected by Doug Sterner, a Vietnam veteran and Military Times contributing editor, and by Military Times staff.
Woman who cried rape
(3 replies)
   Last Post: TJMAC77SP
        May 3, 2014 1:32 PM
   Last Post: garhkal
        May 1, 2014 5:03 PM
Cliven Bundy
(45 replies)
   Last Post: Chief_KO
        Apr 26, 2014 9:49 AM
Handbooks

All you need to know about your military benefits.

Benefits handbook

Guard & Reserve All you need to know about the Guard & Reserve.

guard and reserve handbook