Meeting the Needs of American Veterans with Medicaid

Veterans have a wide variety of health needs, and they deserve high-quality, easily-accessible health care. Nearly two million U.S. veterans and their families depend on Medicaid to meet their unique health needs, including through services like routine checkups and physical and mental health services.

While the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) provides care to many U.S. veterans, Medicaid is a valuable service for veterans who are at risk of falling through the cracks. For example, VA facilities aren’t always close enough for veterans in rural areas to easily obtain quality health services. Determining eligibility for VA assistance can also be complex. The VA determines eligibility based on several factors including veteran status, service-related disability status, income level and other considerations. These factors often result in long wait times—delaying needed care—or even ineligibility.

Fortunately, for those veterans who are unable to receive quality care promptly or at all through the VA, Medicaid is a lifeline to reliable health services. The program covers about 10 percent of veterans aged 19-64, and for 40 percent of those individuals, Medicaid is their sole source of health coverage. This is especially important for veterans with specific health needs – 54 percent of veterans enrolled in Medicaid have a disability, 42 percent have two or more chronic conditions, and 11 percent have a mental health disorder.

Medicaid also plays an important role for many military spouses and their children. The Department of Defense offers a health plan known as TRICARE, but the program does not always meet the needs of military families. The Children’s Hospital Association, an MMA member, shined light on several scenarios in which Medicaid helps cover military families when TRICARE fails to do so. These include transitions from service, providing secondary insurance, and delivering coverage for complex care.

Medicaid continues to find innovative health solutions to deliver high-quality, accessible care at a low cost for those who have served our country.

For more information on how Medicaid helps veterans, see our fact sheet here.

Medicaid helps provide care for American veterans and their families.