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State residency will decide which veterans benefit from ACA Medicaid expansion

NEWS IN BRIEF — Posted April 8, 2013

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Of the nation’s 1.3 million uninsured veterans, an estimated 40% could qualify for new coverage provisions under the Affordable Care Act starting in 2014, according to a report prepared for the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation by the Urban Institute.

Many of these individuals potentially could become eligible for Medicaid or federal subsidies for private insurance, depending on whether they live in a state that expands Medicaid. More than 400,000 of these uninsured veterans and 113,000 spouses have incomes below 100% of poverty, the report noted. For those below the poverty line in a state that doesn’t expand Medicaid, no subsidized coverage options may exist, although it’s expected that those from 100% to 400% of poverty would be eligible to apply for federal subsidies to buy coverage through health insurance exchanges.

“Many people assume all veterans have access to health coverage through the Dept. of Veterans Affairs, but that’s not the case,” said Andy Hyman, a senior program officer and director of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s coverage team, in a statement. “Expanding Medicaid will go a long way toward ensuring that those who put their lives on the line for our country have access to the health care they need and deserve.”

According to the report, many of these uninsured veterans live in states that either have decided not to expand Medicaid or are undecided.

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