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November 10, 2014

Fighting for Veterans

Virginia is home to a large share of our nation’s active-duty military personnel and veterans. And lawmakers routinely characterize Virginia as one of the most military friendly states in the country.

Yet by failing to close the health care coverage gap, lawmakers are letting down a large number of vets and their families.

In Virginia, about 32,100 veterans have no health insurance. About 17,000 more report having only VA health care, which means they can face challenges getting the care they need because of the limited number of locations where they can get treatment.

About 38 percent of all uninsured veterans in Virginia and more than half of VA-only insured veterans could qualify for comprehensive care if state lawmakers closed the coverage gap. That’s because they had qualifying incomes below 138 percent of the Federal Poverty Level (FPL) – about $27,300 for a family of three – in 2014.

What’s more, about 28 percent of veterans’ family members are uninsured and report income below 138 percent of FPL. That means that up to another 4,100 veterans’ family members in Virginia would be eligible for coverage too. All told that’s over 25,000 military veterans and their spouses who could get access to quality, affordable health care.

As Virginians prepare to honor those who have so bravely served this country, lawmakers should close the coverage gap and provide these veterans and their families access to quality health care coverage.

–Massey Whorley, Senior Policy Analyst

The Commonwealth Institute

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