Medicaid expansion (or Healthy Florida alternative) could impact thousands of Florida veterans

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Nearly 42,000 uninsured Florida veterans and 13,400 spouses could gain access to health coverage through the expansion of Medicaid — or a state alternative — according to a report just released by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

According to the RWJF report, of the approximate 103,700 veterans living in Florida (ages 18-64), 32,300 fall below 100 percent of the federal poverty level, and 8.9 percent fall between 100 and 138 percent — meaning that about 41 percent of Florida veterans could benefit from the expansion of Medicaid coverage as proposed under the PPACA. 

Similar numbers of Florida veterans stand to benefit under Healthy Florida, an alternative proposal forwarded by the Florida Senate which the Legislature is considering and Governor Scott, who supports Medicaid expansion, has also expressed interest in.

The RWJF report estimates that nationwide about 535,000 veterans would stand to gain coverage under the PPACA but that seven states including Florida are home to 43 percent of all uninsured veterans.

Florida is one of three states that has more than 30,000 uninsured veterans.

Another 13,400 uninsured spouses of veterans in Florida would also become eligible for health coverage under PPACA or Healthy Florida.

“Many people assume all veterans have access to health coverage through the Department of Veterans Affairs, but that’s not the case,” Andy Hyman, team director and senior program officer for the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, said in a statement. “Expanding Medicaid will go a long way toward ensuring that those who put their lives on the line for our country have access to the health care they need and deserve.”

 Awaiting input from the Florida Department of Veterans Affairs; stay tuned for more.