Magazine article VFW Magazine

Uninsured Veterans Fall between the Cracks of Care

Magazine article VFW Magazine

Uninsured Veterans Fall between the Cracks of Care

Article excerpt

While a majority of veterans can and do take advantage of their health and prescription benefits, a substantial number of veterans and their families do not have access to health insurance coverage or adequate care due to eligibility and/or costs.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that this population of vets has a higher incidence of chronic disease than the general population, which makes the lack of access to medical care and drug treatments particularly concerning.

While not a replacement for the comprehensive coverage veterans need, prescription savings programs are an important stop-gap measure for uninsured or underinsured veterans. It might provide them with access to both brand and generic medications that they otherwise might not be able to afford.

GAPS IN NEEDED CARE

For chronic health conditions, prescription drug therapy can be a critical part of treatment. But many veterans and their family members do without because of the cost.

According to a report by the Harvard/Cambridge Hospital Study Group, nearly 30 percent of uninsured veterans and 26 percent of their uninsured family members delayed care due to cost. One-in-four uninsured veterans and 16 percent of their family members were not able to afford medications.

Lack of access to these drugs often leads to worsening health and adverse clinical events that generate even higher costs for the patient. According to a review in the Annals of Internal Medicine, people who do not take necessary prescription medication represent at least 10 percent of hospitalizations, approximately 125,000 deaths and cost the American health care system between $100 billion and $289 billion a year. …

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