Veterans Saw Broad Coverage Gains Between 2013 and 2015

Military soldier soluting the flag.

Veterans uninsurance reduced by nearly 40 percent between 2013 and 2015 under the Affordable Care Act.



The issue

Before the ACA’s implementation, nearly one million veterans—almost one in 10—were uninsured. By 2015, the number of uninsured veterans fell to 552,000.

Key Findings

  • The uninsurance rate among veterans under age 65 declined by nearly 40% during the first two years of the ACA’s coverage provisions;

  • Approximately 429,000 veterans gained coverage between 2013 and 2015, and the gains were broad-based across a variety of demographic groups;

  • Veteran uninsurance rates were lower in states that expanded Medicaid, with uninsurance rates in 2015 averaging 4.8% in expansion states compared to 7.1% in states that didn’t expand Medicaid.


Veterans experienced gains in health coverage, mostly through Medicaid and the individual health insurance market, suggesting that continuation of the ACA coverage options and participation in Medicaid expansion has potential to reduce uninsurance among veterans even further.

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.