Looking for a way to honor the service of our veterans this Memorial Day?
You may be surprised to learn that 6,200 New Hampshire veterans are currently struggling without health insurance, according to a recent report by the Urban Institute and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.
The good news is, they would receive health coverage if Medicaid is expanded under the Affordable Care Act (ACA). AARP New Hampshire is working hard to provide much-needed help to our veterans by fighting to expand affordable health care coverage to those currently without health insurance.
The report is titled, “ Uninsured Veterans and Family Members: Who Are They and Where Do They Live?,” and says there are 1.3 million veterans under age 65 uninsured in the United States, and about 40 percent of those could qualify for health coverage through Medicaid expansion.
Here in New Hampshire, nearly 1,500 veterans would be eligible for Medicaid coverage if we choose expansion. Additionally, 800 spouses of veterans could qualify for coverage if New Hampshire approves Medicaid expansion.
Here are just some of the ways Medicaid expansion would help New Hampshire veterans:
• Not all veterans receive Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) health care coverage. VA care is out of reach for low-income veterans who do not live near VA facilities or are unaware that VA care is available.
• VA eligibility is determined by other factors including service-related disabilities and income, and many veterans make too much money to qualify for VA assistance but not enough to afford insurance on their own.
• The need is particularly great for veterans who often have chronic health problems that may go untreated because they lack insurance coverage.
• Uninsured veterans’ families would also benefit from Medicaid expansion – the report says that more than half of those family members have unmet medical needs.
Medicaid expansion also makes good financial sense:
• The federal government will pay 100 percent of the cost of Medicaid expansion in New Hampshire for the first three years and that figure gradually moves to 90 percent thereafter, pumping significant money into our state’s economy.
• It will also generate cost savings, providing access to preventive care that veterans and their families need while reducing the need for expensive emergency room care and related overcrowding.
In addition to supporting our state’s veterans and their families, Medicaid expansion will help the 18,000 hard-working 50- to 64-year olds who are struggling every day to find access to affordable health care.
AARP continues to fight to expand affordable health care and we need your help. Call your state elected officials and tell them to support Medicaid expansion in New Hampshire. It’s the right thing to do.