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VA Health Care Use among OEF, OIF, and OND Veterans

About 55% of newly eligible Operation Enduring Freedom, Operation Iraqi Freedom, or Operation New Dawn (OEF/OIF/OND) Veterans chose to use VA health care services between 2002 and 2010. These findings are from a study that looks at patterns in VA health care use among OEF/OIF/OND Veterans.

health care use infographic

Text version of infographic

Health Care Use Among OEF/OIF/OND Veterans (2002 – 2010)

Between 2002-2010 1,234,965 Veterans who served in Operations Enduring Freedom, Iraqi Freedom, or New Dawn (OEF/OIF/OND) became eligible for VA health care.

Approximately 18 million health care visits at VA were from Veterans in this group.

Since 2005 about 140,000 new Veterans have become eligible each year to receive VA health care. Between 50-60% of each year’s newly eligible group chooses to use VA health care.

Number of Individual Veterans using VA Health Care

Active Duty: 375,004
National Guard/Reserve: 312,930

Military Occupation

Veterans who served in the “combat” or “logistics” occupational groups were more likely to use VA health care than Veterans who served in other groups.

Top Reasons for First Visit

  1. Contact with health services
  2. Mental disorders
  3. Musculoskeletal system or connective tissue
  4. Digestive system

Who is Using VA Health Care?

PERCENTAGE OF ELIGIBLE VETERANS USING VA HEALTH CARE BY BRANCH

Who is using VA care?
(Percentage of eligible veterans using VHA health care)

Service BranchActive Duty (%)Reserve/National Guard (%)
Army 63 66
Marine Corps 61 48
Navy 44 43
Air Force 48 28
Coast Guard 40 23

Army and Marine Corps Veterans used VA health care more than any other branches.

PERCENTAGE OF ELIGIBLE VETERANS USING VA HEALTH CARE BY CUMULATIVE TIME DEPLOYED*

MonthsActive Duty (%)Reserve/National Guard (%)
<4 49 37
4-6 50 45
7-9 51 53
10-12 58 62
13 61 63

Health care use increased with longer deployment time.
*Percentages only include OEF/OIF/OND deployments.

U.S Department of Veterans Affairs
Veterans Health Administration
Office of Public Health

Note: All percentages have been rounded

Health care utilization reports

Four times per year, VA publishes reports that describe the health care use of OEF/OIF/OND Veterans at VA facilities.

Health concerns?

Not enrolled in the VA health care system? Find out if you qualify. OEF, OIF, and OND combat Veterans are eligible for VA health care for five years after leaving the military. There are also other ways to qualify, for example by having a service-connected disability .

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