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Public Health Rep. 2007 Jan-Feb;122(1):93-100.

Veterans using and uninsured veterans not using Veterans Affairs (VA) health care.

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  • 1Primary and Specialty Medical Care Service, VA Puget Sound Health Care System, Seattle, WA 98107, USA.



The objectives of this study were to: (1) examine veteran reliance on health services provided by the Veterans Health Administration (VA), (2) describe the characteristics of veterans who receive VA care, and (3) report rates of uninsurance among veterans and characteristics of uninsured veterans.


The authors analyzed data from the 2000 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System. Using bivariate and multivariate analyses, the association of veteran's demographic characteristics, health insurance coverage, and use of VA services were examined. Veterans not reporting VA coverage and having no other source of health insurance were considered uninsured.


Among veteran respondents, 6.2% reported receiving all of their health care at the VA, 6.9% reported receiving some of their health care at the VA, and 86.9% did not use VA health care. Poor, less-educated, and minority veterans were more likely to receive all of their health care at the VA. Veterans younger than age 65 who utilized the VA for all of their health care also reported coverage with either private insurance (42.6%) or Medicare (36.3%). Of the veterans younger than age 65, 8.6% (population estimate: 1.3 million individuals) were uninsured. Uninsured veterans were less likely to be able to afford a doctor or see a doctor within the last year.


Veterans who utilized the VA for all of their health care were more likely to be from disadvantaged groups. A large number of veterans who could use VA services were uninsured. They should be targeted for VA enrollment given the detrimental clinical effects of being uninsured.

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