Will be helped by expanded Medicaid eligibility, tax credits for health care marketplaces
Madison – A new study indicates that uninsured Wisconsin veterans will be helped by health reform, officially known as the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and sometimes called Obamacare. According to the report, there are roughly 17,000 non-elderly veterans who are uninsured in Wisconsin along with 11,000 of their family members. Two key provisions of reform will help these veterans starting in 2014 – just a year and a half away.
First, the law expands eligibility for Medicaid (BadgerCare) for those with incomes up to 138% of Federal Poverty Level (FPL)*. The study found that 48.8% of uninsured veterans nationwide are in this income level. Second, reform creates individual tax credits for those with incomes between 138 and 400% of FPL that can be used in new health insurance marketplaces (also called “exchanges”) if they have no other access to affordable care. The study found that 40.1% of veterans nationwide are in this income level.
The new health insurance marketplaces are required to be set up in each state for individuals and small businesses that otherwise have difficulty purchasing insurance – allowing them to pool together for greater leverage. They will function similar to purchasing an airline ticket or hotel on a website, allowing citizens to compare a range of private insurance plans for price and service in an “apples to apples” way. If states choose not to implement the marketplaces, the federal government will step in. Wisconsin has currently put implementation on hold.
“Having just celebrated Memorial Day, it’s a great time to focus on how health reform impacts uninsured veterans who have served our country,” said Doug Hill, director of Know Your Care Wisconsin. “We’re thrilled to see this study indicating that Wisconsin’s uninsured veterans will be helped by health reform through increased Medicaid eligibility and tax credits to help afford insurance in the new health insurance marketplaces that are coming online in 2014.”
According to the study, uninsured veterans tend to have served more recently, are less likely to have service connected disabilities (though many still do), are less likely to be married, have higher rates of unemployment and lower rates of full-time work, and have lower education levels. Nationwide, 41.2% of uninsured veterans and 54.8% of their family members have unmet medical needs. In addition, 33.7% of uninsured veterans and 44.1% of their family members have delayed medical care due to cost.
For the full report, visit www.rwjf.org/files/research/74428.quickstrike.veterans.052412.pdf. More about health reform can be found at www.healthcare.gov.
*FPL for one person is $11,170 and $23,050 for a family of four. For 138% of FPL, it calculates to $15,415 and $31,809. For 400% of FPL, it calculates to $44,680 and $92,200.