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Veterans Gain Large Benefits Through Medicaid Expansion


One of the largest group of people that is consistently underinsured is military veterans. Many veterans rely on government subsidized insurance to be able to afford adequate healthcare. Many cannot rely solely on private insurance or insurance through the Department of Veteran Affairs (VA). Medicaid can help provide insurance and can improve the quality of care received in the following ways:

  • Not all veterans are able to get health insurance through the VA. Many do not qualify. Time served in the military and current active status are taken into account when providing insurance for veterans.

  • Many veterans have medical needs that are not met. Nationally, 40% of uninsured or underinsured veterans say that they cannot seek medical attention due to lack of insurance.

  • In states that have implemented Medicaid expansion, over 50% of veterans are eligible for insurance as opposed to the 10% that are eligible for Medicaid in states that do not taken advantage of Medicaid expansion.

  • Many veterans do not have access to VA hospitals because they live in rural areas. Expanding Medicaid would enable them to not only be insured through Medicaid, but also to be able to access Critical Access Hospitals that are funded by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. This will give veterans more options to access healthcare.

  • Having insurance through Medicaid will improve a veteran’s standing in the VA ranking system. Veterans would then be able to be covered through Medicaid as well as the VA and be able to access the medical care they need without having to worry about financial repercussions.

Over 111,000 (7.5%) of Florida’s 1.4 million veterans currently live in poverty. However, to qualify for Medicaid in Florida you must have a dependent child and make less than about 31% of the federal poverty level (ex: $7,000/yr for a family of 3). There is NO help for childless adults, regardless of how much you make.


The expansion of Medicaid in Florida would be able to cover many veterans who currently do not have insurance. Many veterans would meet the new eligibility criteria and be able to receive adequate healthcare through Medicaid. Medicaid expansion will impact the veteran population greatly. In states that have expanded Medicaid, coverage of veterans through Medicaid has grown and has had an impact on health outcomes. There has been an increase in improved health outcomes for veterans who are covered through insurance.

Unfortunately, many veterans experience homelessness. The rate of homelessness in veterans is significantly higher than many other demographics. Veterans only make up 9% of the national population but make up 12% of the total homeless population. Homeless veterans are not able to seek medical care because of the financial consequences.


Homelessness in veterans can be considered a public health crisis. Expanding Medicaid will increase the available care for veterans who are homeless. Health Care for the Homeless (HCH) is a group that helps provide medical care for homeless individuals. HCH has shown data that Medicaid expansion has helped veterans access health care more frequently and has shown an overall positive outcome of Medicaid expansion. Four studies conducted by the HCH have shown that between 2013 and 2016 there has been an increase in the number of veterans covered by Medicaid. Expanding Medicaid has proven to be beneficial for veterans and should be be expanded in Florida so more veterans can be covered and be able to receive adequate health care.


The populations of veterans in Florida is growing. Florida has the third highest population of veterans in the country. As of 2017, there are 1,525,400 veterans in the state of Florida. These veterans cover all demographics in Florida. Insurance coverage is a necessity for this group as it can help veterans gain access to medical care that they need. Veterans can be a vulnerable population and so it is important to make sure they have the proper insurance coverage and are able to get adequate healthcare. Expanding Medicaid will only help serve veterans who have served our country. It will help improve access and provide healthcare for a group that currently is underinsured. In turn, health outcomes will improve in this population.


References:

Artiga S, DiPietro B, Ubri P. (2017). The role of Medicaid and impact of the Medicaid expansion for Veterans experiencing homelessness. Kaiser Family Foundation. Retrieved from: https://www.kff.org/medicaid/issue-brief/the-role-of-medicaid-and-impact-of-the-medicaid-expansion-for-veterans-experiencing-homelessness/#:~:text=The%20%23ACA%20%23Medicaid%20expansion%20has,or%20military%20coverage%20for%20others.

Fast Facts. Florida Department of Veterans’ Affairs. (2017). Retrieved from: https://www.floridavets.org/our-veterans/profilefast-facts/#:~:text=Fast%20Facts,-Fiscal%202017%20demographic&text=There%20are%201%2C525%2C400%20veterans%20in,and%20Texas%20with%201%2C584%2C844%20veterans.

Lilienfeld M. (2013). Five key facts: veterans and Medicaid expansion. National Health Law Program. Retrieved from: https://healthlaw.org/resource/five-key-facts-veterans-and-medicaid-expansion/

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