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No Health Insurance for Many Black Veterans
Researchers at the Urban Institute used census data to estimate health insurance coverage for veterans aged 19 to 64 and the results are objectively shameful for the United States. While veterans are more likely to have health insurance than the general population, about 1 in 10 of the nearly 12.5 million veterans under age 65 do not have health coverage. More than 1.3 million working-age veterans don’t have health insurance and not accessing benefits available through Veterans Affairs.
According to the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, if the Affordable Care Act (referred to as “Obamacare”) is eventually implemented, some 630,000 uninsured veterans would qualify for the health care reform policy’s expanded Medicaid program and another 520,000 uninsured veterans could get subsidized health insurance coverage via the “insurance exchanges” the Act will create.
The rate of uninsured Veterans is also highest among African Americans and Hispanics. The rate of uninsured Black and Hispanic veterans is 8.1% and 8.7% respectively. And disturbingly in the United States, the rate of uninsured American Indian veterans tops 19 percent. Compared with insured veterans, uninsured veterans have served more recently, are younger, have lower levels of education, are less likely to be married, and are less connected to the labor force—all of which could contribute to lower access to employer-sponsored coverage.
Compared to a national rate of almost 11%, the states with the worst rates of uninsured veterans include Louisiana, Oregon, and Idaho all top 14 percent, and Montana comes in at a woeful 17.3 percent.