Veterans Less Likely to Seek Medical Care

Military veterans are likely to delay seeking healthcare possibly due to the VA health system.

A recent study discovered that US veterans are more likely to report delays in seeking healthcare, possibly associated with long waiting times in the Veterans Administration (VA) health system.

Researchers analyzed data from a nationally representative survey conducted from 2010 to 2011 to assess delays in seeking healthcare, in both the general population and military veterans, for a study published in the Journal of Public Health Management and Practice.

Approximately 1.72% of respondents were covered by veterans’ insurance and the majority had private health insurance.

"Those in veterans' care were more likely than the rest of the surveyed population to report care delay," the researchers wrote.

Almost 29% of veterans said they delayed seeking needed medical care, whereas the national rate was 17%.

Veterans reported difficulties making appointments and getting transportation to the physician’s office.

Researchers found that veterans were 1.76 times more likely to delay medical care compared with individuals with private insurance.

"Such delays may have an effect on veterans' propensity to seek healthcare as well, which could be detrimental to their health," the study authors said.

Overall, almost 3 out of 10 veterans reported delays in seeking care and researchers said there may be a link with VA access problems.

“More studies are needed to expand our understanding on the magnitude and current status of care delay and offer specific steps to rectify related issues on delayed care if reported in military health care,” the researchers concluded.