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North Carolina Veterans of Foreign Wars joins Care4Carolina Coalition

NC Chapter of the Nation’s Largest Veterans Group Supports Closing the Coverage Gap for State’s Uninsured Including 30,000 Veterans

(Raleigh, NC) – August 24, 2021 – Today, Care4Carolina announced the NC Veterans of
Foreign Wars (VFW) is adding its voice to the growing body of healthcare, business, and faith organizations calling North Carolina to finally close its deadly healthcare coverage gap.

Of the uninsured, there are an estimated 30,000 military veterans without health insurance and an additional 23,000 uninsured military spouses and children in North Carolina.

“Contrary to common belief, not all veterans receive healthcare from the Dept. of Veterans Affairs. Only an estimated 40 percent of all veterans are enrolled in the VA system,” says NC VFW Commander Russ Chambers. “North Carolina has always been a state which takes great pride in caring for our active duty and veteran citizens. It is time for the N.C. General Assembly to continue that tradition and close the coverage gap for our brave men and women who served our state and country.”

Only an estimated 40 percent of all veterans are enrolled in the VA system. Eligibility for VA care is dependent on service duration, discharge, and disability, leaving many veterans uninsured and unable to get the care they need even after fulfilling their military commitment.

The state is now presented with a new incentive to close the gap. In the recently passed federal stimulus bill, states are provided a new incentive to close their coverage gaps: a two-year, five percentage point increase in the federal match rate for Medicaid. For North Carolina, that would mean an influx of $1.7 billion over the next two years.
If that incentive were not enough, states that have closed their health care coverage gap under the Affordable Care Act have lower rates of uninsured veterans than those that did not.

Many military veterans, especially those in NC’s rural counties, face significant barriers to accessing healthcare services. For veterans enrolled in the VA, long drive times to the nearest VA clinic present a substantial burden. Veterans residing in rural areas tend to be older and have more complicated health needs; traveling long distances to receive care is simply unfeasible for this population.

“Veterans trust in the N.C. General Assembly’s commitment to supporting our communities and respectfully ask that the state legislature take advantage of the opportunity before us to close the coverage gap—not only for veterans, but for their family members, children and neighbors so they can access the care they need,” said Commander Chambers.

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