Veterans and Their Family Members Gain Coverage Under the ACA, but Opportunities for More Progress Remain

More than half a million United States veterans are projected to be uninsured in 2017.

The Issue

Uninsurance rates for veterans and their family members sharply declined between 2013 and 2015, but coverage gaps remain.

Key Findings

  • Between 2013 and 2015, the uninsurance rate for nonelderly veterans fell by 42 percent. Over this time, veterans also experienced fewer unmet health needs, suggesting that increased coverage translated into improved access to care.

  • Declines in veteran uninsurance were larger in the 26 states that had expanded Medicaid under the ACA by 2014 than in nonexpansion states.

  • If Medicaid expansion decisions do not change between now and 2017, it is projected that approximately 604,000 veterans will be uninsured in 2017.


Veteran uninsurance rates dropped from 2013 to 2015, but rates among veterans and their family members remained higher in nonexpansion states than in expansion states. By 2017 it is projected that 70 percent of veterans will be eligible for Medicaid or subsidized marketplace coverage in expansion states compared to 39 percent in nonexpansion states.

About the Urban Institute

The nonprofit Urban Institute is dedicated to elevating the debate on social and economic policy. For nearly five decades, Urban scholars have conducted research and offered evidence-based solutions that improve lives and strengthen communities across a rapidly urbanizing world. Their objective research helps expand opportunities for all, reduce hardship among the most vulnerable, and strengthen the effectiveness of the public sector. Visit the Urban Institute’s Health Policy Center for more information specific to its staff and its recent research.