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Trends in Financial Barriers to Medical Care for Women Veterans, 2003–2004 and 2009–2010

Preventing Chronic Disease
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Publication Date
DOI: 10.5888/pcd10.130071
  • Original Research
  • Medicine


Introduction Women veterans are a fast-growing segment of the veteran population, yet they face many barriers to medical care. The objective of this study was to examine factors that put women veterans at risk for a financial barrier to medical care. Methods We conducted repeated cross-sectional analyses of data from the 2003, 2004, 2009, and 2010 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System. We used weighted logistic regression to examine the risk of a financial barrier to medical care as the primary outcome in a multivariate model controlling for factors in health-related domains. Results In 2010, there were an estimated 1,719,750 (11.6%) working-aged veterans who needed to see a doctor in the previous 12 months but could not because of cost. For women, 13.4% faced this financial barrier. Over the study period, facing a financial barrier was consistently associated with insurance coverage, physical and mental distress days, and having children in the home. Other associations emerged in particular years, such as binge drinking in 2010. The trends for women veterans relative to men and for younger women veterans relative to older women veterans show reduction in financial barriers to health care. Conclusion The Veteran’s Health Administration (VHA) should continue efforts to reduce financial and other barriers, especially among the higher risk groups we identified. This will help meet the VHA’s objectives of providing comprehensive care to all veterans including women.

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