A veteran lives in one of the 10 states with the most uninsured veterans and is wondering how the nation compares.

10 States With the Most Uninsured Veterans—and How the Nation Compares

9 min.

Data on states with the highest rates of uninsured veterans, plus guidance on how to seek accessible, veteran-specific mental healthcare.

By: Charlie Health Editorial Team

Clinically Reviewed By: Dr. Don Gasparini

April 23, 2024

Share:

share icon Facebook logo LinkedIn logo

Table of Contents

Over 9 million veterans receive healthcare through the Veterans Health Administration (VHA), but as many as 1.5 million remain uninsured — amounting to about 6% of veterans nationwide (or one out of every 15 veterans), data shows. These insurance gaps mean that many who served our country go without necessary healthcare each year. 

In 2019, a team of researchers analyzed veteran-related data from that year’s Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS), the nation’s largest public health survey conducted annually by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Their research, drawing from the 53,000 veterans surveyed by the CDC (representative of the nationwide veteran population), revealed that lack of medical coverage compromises both care and access for veterans.

Specifically, the researchers found that less than half of uninsured veterans had a personal doctor, only about one-third (29%) had received a flu vaccine in the previous year, and roughly one in five (17.3%) hadn’t been to an annual physical in the previous 5 years. 

While veterans across the country struggle with accessing medical care, rates of uninsurance differ between states. Four of the five states with the largest percentage of uninsured veterans, for instance, are states that did not adopt Medicaid expansions under the Affordable Care Act (ACA) — conforming to 2021 research findings that slightly more than half of uninsured veterans lived in non-expansion states. Factors like urbanization have also been shown to affect uninsurance rates.

Below, Charlie Health dug into the BRFSS research analysis, sorting all 50 states in ascending order by veteran uninsurance rates. We also pulled data on the approximate number of uninsured veterans in each state and compared the state’s uninsurance rate to the national average. 

Join the Charlie Health Library

Get mental health updates, research, insights, and resources directly to your inbox.

You can unsubscribe anytime.

10 states with the highest rates of uninsured veterans

Graph showing the top 10 states with the highest rates of veteran uninsurance

#10. Wyoming

  • 7% of veterans in Wyoming are uninsured 
  • That amounts to roughly 4,123 uninsured veterans in the state
  • The veteran uninsurance rate in Wyoming is about 16% higher than the national average 

#9. Georgia

  • 7.1% of veterans in Georgia are uninsured 
  • That amounts to roughly 69,128 uninsured veterans in the state
  • The veteran uninsurance rate in Georgia is about 18% higher than the national average 

#8. Tennessee

  • 7.2% of veterans in Tennessee are uninsured 
  • That amounts to roughly 43,709 uninsured veterans in the state
  • The veteran uninsurance rate in Tennessee is about 20% higher than the national average 

#7. Idaho

  • 7.6% of veterans in Idaho are uninsured 
  • That amounts to roughly 12,229 uninsured veterans in the state
  • The veteran uninsurance rate in Idaho is about 26% higher than the national average 

#6. Delaware

  • 7.8% of veterans in Delaware are uninsured 
  • That amounts to roughly 7,542 uninsured veterans in the state
  • The veteran uninsurance rate in Delaware is about 30% higher than the national average 

#5. Alabama

  • 8.2% of veterans in Alabama are uninsured 
  • That amounts to roughly 39,997 uninsured veterans in the state
  • The veteran uninsurance rate in Alabama is about 36% higher than the national average 

#4. Wisconsin

  • 8.6% of veterans in Wisconsin are uninsured 
  • That amounts to roughly 37,684 uninsured veterans in the state
  • The veteran uninsurance rate in Wisconsin is about 43% higher than the national average 

#3. Arkansas

  • 10.2% of veterans in Arkansas are uninsured 
  • That amounts to roughly 27,824 uninsured veterans in the state
  • The veteran uninsurance rate in Arkansas is about 70% higher than the national average 

#2. Texas

  • 10.4% of veterans in Texas are uninsured 
  • That amounts to roughly 246,086 uninsured veterans in the state
  • The veteran uninsurance rate in Texas is about 73% higher than the national average 

#1. Mississippi

  • 11.1% of veterans in Mississippi are uninsured 
  • That amounts to roughly 27,887 uninsured veterans in the state
  • The veteran uninsurance rate in Mississippi is about 85% higher than the national average 

How veteran insurance gaps compare in the remaining states

Keep reading to see how the remaining 40 states rank according to the highest rates of uninsured veterans. Where states are tied for the percentage of uninsured veterans, they are sorted in ascending order by the approximate number of overall uninsured veterans.

#50. Maryland 

  • 2.4% of veterans in Maryland are uninsured 
  • That amounts to roughly 11,417 uninsured veterans in the state
  • The veteran uninsurance rate in Maryland is about 60% lower than the national average 

#49. Oregon 

  • 3.2% of veterans in Oregon are uninsured 
  • That amounts to roughly 11,762 uninsured veterans in the state
  • The veteran uninsurance rate in Oregon is about 46% lower than the national average 

#48. Massachusetts 

  • 3.4% of veterans in Massachusetts are uninsured 
  • That amounts to roughly 13,489 uninsured veterans in the state
  • The veteran uninsurance rate in Massachusetts is about 43% lower than the national average 

#47. North Dakota

  • 3.8% of veterans in North Dakota are uninsured 
  • That amounts to roughly 2,584 uninsured veterans in the state
  • The veteran uninsurance rate in North Dakota is about 36% lower than the national average 

#46. Alaska 

  • 3.8% of veterans in Alaska are uninsured 
  • That amounts to roughly 3,643 uninsured veterans in the state
  • The veteran uninsurance rate in Alaska is about 36% lower than the national average 

#45. New Hampshire

  • 3.8% of veterans in New Hampshire are uninsured 
  • That amounts to roughly 4,731 uninsured veterans in the state
  • The veteran uninsurance rate in New Hampshire is about 36% lower than the national average 

#44. Hawaii 

  • 3.8% of veterans in Hawaii are uninsured 
  • That amounts to roughly 6,181 uninsured veterans in the state
  • The veteran uninsurance rate in Hawaii is about 36% lower than the national average 

#43. Missouri 

  • 3.9% of veterans in Missouri are uninsured 
  • That amounts to roughly 20,844 uninsured veterans in the state
  • The veteran uninsurance rate in Missouri is about 35% lower than the national average 

#42. Kentucky 

  • 4.2% of veterans in Kentucky are uninsured 
  • That amounts to roughly 15,444 uninsured veterans in the state 
  • The veteran uninsurance rate in Kentucky is about 30% lower than the national average 

#41. Washington

  • 4.2% of veterans in Washington are uninsured 
  • That amounts to roughly 29,833 uninsured veterans in the state
  • The veteran uninsurance rate in Washington is about 30% lower than the national average 

#40. Colorado 

  • 4.3% of veterans in Colorado are uninsured 
  • That amounts to roughly 20,101 uninsured veterans in the state
  • The veteran uninsurance rate in Colorado is about 28% lower than the national average 

#39. Iowa 

  • 4.4% of veterans in Iowa are uninsured 
  • That amounts to roughly 10,552 uninsured veterans in the state
  • The veteran uninsurance rate in Iowa is about 26% lower than the national average 

#38. Virginia 

  • 4.6% of veterans in Virginia are uninsured 
  • That amounts to roughly 42,954 uninsured veterans in the state
  • The veteran uninsurance rate in Virginia is about 23% lower than the national average 

#37. Pennsylvania

  • 4.6% of veterans in Pennsylvania are uninsured 
  • That amounts to roughly 46,348 uninsured veterans in the state
  • The veteran uninsurance rate in Pennsylvania is about 23% lower than the national average 

#36. Utah 

  • 4.7% of veterans in Utah are uninsured 
  • That amounts to roughly 8,121 uninsured veterans in the state
  • The veteran uninsurance rate in Utah is about 21% lower than the national average 

#35. Indiana 

  • 4.9% of veterans in Indiana are uninsured 
  • That amounts to roughly 24,497 uninsured veterans in the state
  • The veteran uninsurance rate in Indiana is about 18% lower than the national average 

#34. Arizona 

  • 5% of veterans in Arizona are uninsured 
  • That amounts to roughly 32,415 uninsured veterans in the state
  • The veteran uninsurance rate in Arizona is about 16% lower than the national average 

#33. California 

  • 5% of veterans in California are uninsured 
  • That amounts to roughly 114,464 uninsured veterans in the state
  • The veteran uninsurance rate in California is about 16% lower than the national average 

#32. Vermont

  • 5.1% of veterans in Vermont are uninsured 
  • That amounts to roughly 2,549 uninsured veterans in the state
  • The veteran uninsurance rate in Vermont is about 15% lower than the national average 

#31. Oklahoma

  • 5.1% of veterans in Oklahoma are uninsured 
  • That amounts to roughly 19,202 uninsured veterans in the state
  • The veteran uninsurance rate in Oklahoma is about 15% lower than the national average 

#30. New York

  • 5.1% of veterans in New York are uninsured 
  • That amounts to roughly 55,896 uninsured veterans in the state
  • The veteran uninsurance rate in New York is about 15% lower than the national average 

#29. Ohio

  • 5.3% of veterans in Ohio are uninsured 
  • That amounts to roughly 48,382 uninsured veterans in the state
  • The veteran uninsurance rate in Ohio is about 11% lower than the national average 

#28. Connecticut

  • 5.5% of veterans in Connecticut are uninsured 
  • That amounts to roughly 13,406 uninsured veterans in the state
  • The veteran uninsurance rate in Connecticut is about 8% lower than the national average 

#27. Minnesota

  • 5.5% of veterans in Minnesota are uninsured 
  • That amounts to roughly 21,894 uninsured veterans in the state
  • The veteran uninsurance rate in Minnesota is about 8% lower than the national average 

#26. Florida

  • 5.5% of veterans in Florida are uninsured 
  • That amounts to roughly 117,699 uninsured veterans in the state
  • The veteran uninsurance rate in Florida is about 8% lower than the national average 

#25. South Dakota

  • 5.6% of veterans in South Dakota are uninsured 
  • That amounts to roughly 4,481 uninsured veterans in the state
  • The veteran uninsurance rate in South Dakota is about 6% lower than the national average 

#24. Maine

  • 5.6% of veterans in Maine are uninsured 
  • That amounts to roughly 7,055 uninsured veterans in the state
  • The veteran uninsurance rate in Maine is about 6% lower than the national average 

#23. West Virginia

  • 5.6% of veterans in West Virginia are uninsured 
  • That amounts to roughly 9,345 uninsured veterans in the state
  • The veteran uninsurance rate in West Virginia is about 6% lower than the national average 

#22. New Mexico

  • 5.6% of veterans in New Mexico are uninsured 
  • That amounts to roughly 9,386 uninsured veterans in the state
  • The veteran uninsurance rate in New Mexico is about 6% lower than the national average 

#21. Montana

  • 5.7% of veterans in Montana are uninsured 
  • That amounts to roughly 6,443 uninsured veterans in the state
  • The veteran uninsurance rate in Montana is about 5% lower than the national average 

#20. Nevada

  • 5.7% of veterans in Nevada are uninsured 
  • That amounts to roughly 16,144 uninsured veterans in the state
  • The veteran uninsurance rate in Nevada is about 5% lower than the national average 

#19. Louisiana

  • 5.8% of veterans in Louisiana are uninsured 
  • That amounts to roughly 22,228 uninsured veterans in the state
  • The veteran uninsurance rate in Louisiana is about 3% lower than the national average 

#18. District of Columbia

  • 5.9% of veterans in the District of Columbia (D.C.) are uninsured 
  • That amounts to roughly 1,932 uninsured veterans in the state
  • The veteran uninsurance rate in D.C. is about 2% lower than the national average 

#17. North Carolina

  • 6% of veterans in North Carolina are uninsured 
  • That amounts to roughly 63,183 uninsured veterans in the state
  • The veteran uninsurance rate in North Carolina is on par with the national average 

#16. Kansas

  • 6.1% of veterans in Kansas are uninsured 
  • That amounts to roughly 14,730 uninsured veterans in the state
  • The veteran uninsurance rate in Kansas is about 2% higher than the national average 

#15. Nebraska

  • 6.3% of veterans in Nebraska are uninsured 
  • That amounts to roughly 9,993 uninsured veterans in the state
  • The veteran uninsurance rate in Nebraska is about 5% higher than the national average 

#14. South Carolina

  • 6.3% of veterans in South Carolina are uninsured 
  • That amounts to roughly 34,165 uninsured veterans in the state
  • The veteran uninsurance rate in South Carolina is about 5% higher than the national average 

#13. Rhode Island

  • 6.4% of veterans in Rhode Island are uninsured 
  • That amounts to roughly 5,007 uninsured veterans in the state
  • The veteran uninsurance rate in Rhode Island is about 6% higher than the national average 

#12. Michigan

  • 6.5% of veterans in Michigan are uninsured 
  • That amounts to roughly 50,186 uninsured veterans in the state
  • The veteran uninsurance rate in Michigan is about 8% higher than the national average 

#11. Illinois

  • 6.9% of veterans in Illinois are uninsured 
  • That amounts to roughly 53,940 uninsured veterans in the state
  • The veteran uninsurance rate in Illinois is about 15% higher than the national average 

How to get veteran mental health treatment

Mental health is health, and many veterans who struggle to access healthcare also struggle to access mental healthcare. If you or a person in your life is a veteran in need of mental healthcare, consider seeking support from a licensed mental health professional. You can search for providers in your area online or get a referral from a primary care physician or Veterans Affairs clinic—just remember to ask if a person has experience treating veterans or veteran-specific mental health issues (like post-traumatic stress disorder). 

For virtual treatment with no waitlist, consider Charlie Heath, which offers a virtual Intensive Outpatient Program (IOP). This program is specifically designed for those who could use more than once-weekly support, including veterans and military family members. Our expert clinicians are trained in military cultural competency and incorporate evidence-based treatment modalities into individual therapy, family therapy, and group sessions (with other veterans). Get started today.

References

https://www.va.gov/HEALTHEQUITY/Rural_Veterans_Access_to_Care.asp

https://www.urban.org/research/publication/uninsured-veterans-us

https://www.citizen.org/wp-content/uploads/Lack-of-Care-for-those-Who-Serve-Final-DS.pdf?eType=EmailBlastContent&eId=1e9e9344-4acd-46ca-b7ee-3bf9862d7ed9

https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/nhsr/nhsr182.pdf

https://www.va.gov/health/aboutvha.asp

Charlie Health shield logo

Comprehensive mental health treatment from home

90% of Charlie Health clients and their families would recommend Charlie Health

Girl smiling talking to her mother

We're building treatment plans as unique as you.