Health Insurance and Uninsured
Veterans who signed up to receive health care services through the Veterans Health Administration were less likely to take advantage of the services if they were enrolled in private health care coverage, according to a study in Health Services Research.
The authors attributed low usage of VA care among enrollees to decreasing costs of alternative types of health coverage, including private insurance. In addition, the study argues that some veterans prefer private coverage, while those who are sicker might purchase private coverage to ensure security.
Researchers conclude that a continuing decline in private coverage enrollment could put more pressure on the VA health care system. The authors estimate that four percentage-point decline in private coverage enrollment among VA enrollees under age 65 could result in 1% more enrollees using care provided by VA (Shen et al., Health Services Research, February 2008).