As we honor those who serve or have served in the U.S. armed forces today on Veterans Day, it’s worth noting that a small yet noticeable number of veterans don’t have health insurance.
Colorado is home to 413,271 veterans, 7.8 percent of the state population. Nearly 20 percent live in El Paso County, home to Fort Carson, Peterson Air Force Base and other military installations. Arapahoe County has the second largest veteran population with 44,734 veterans.
Many veterans, active-duty service members and their families get their coverage through TRICARE, the military’s insurance program. Others receive their health care through the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), an integrated system that provides both clinical care and health coverage.
About 4 percent of Coloradans are covered by TRICARE, higher than the 2.7 percent of Americans overall. The 2.1 percent of Coloradans receiving health benefits through the VA closely resembles national numbers.
However, some veterans are not covered. While veterans are more likely to have insurance than the American population as a whole, about 7.2 percent of veterans did not have health insurance in 2009, according to the VA.
The nation’s veteran population is projected to decline from more than 22 million in 2013 to below 15 million in 2043, according to the National Center for Veterans Analysis and Statistics. It will be important to monitor the level of health insurance coverage over this period.