FILE - Veterans Affairs headquarters
The Department of Veterans Affairs headquarters.
(The Center Square) – A new report from the National Center for Health Statistics found that nearly 40% of veterans reported concerns about being able to pay their medical bills.

Overall, the report found that 12.8% of veterans aged 25-64 had problems paying medical bills, 8.4% had forgone medical care and 38.4% were somewhat or very worried about being able to pay their medical bills if they got sick or had an accident.

However, the study by Robin Cohen and Peter Boersma, found that veterans aged 25-64 with United States Department of Veterans Affairs health care only and veterans with Tricare “reported similar or decreased financial burden of care” than veterans with private insurance, with or without Veterans Affairs health care. Tricare is a Department of Defense health care program for uniformed service members, retirees and their families.

“Despite the increasing reliance on Tricare and Veterans Affairs health care among veterans, little data exists on the financial burden of medical care among veterans with Veterans Affairs health care or Tricare relative to veterans with either private insurance or other public coverage,” according to the report.

“After adjustment for race and Hispanic origin, family income, employment status, health status, and disability status, most measures of financial burden improved for veterans who relied only on Veterans Affairs for their health care,” according to the report. “Veterans covered by Veterans Affairs health care only were less likely than those with private insurance either with or without Veterans Affairs health care to have problems paying medical bills or any worry about paying medical bills.”

Investigative Reporter

Brett Rowland is an award-winning journalist who has worked as an editor and reporter in newsrooms in Illinois and Wisconsin. He is an investigative reporter for The Center Square.