Skip to main content

U.S. Navy Seals jump from a CH-46E Sea Knight helicopter during training near Fort Pickett, Va.

U.S. Navy/Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Meranda Keller

The U.S. government has not denied health insurance to the Navy Seal who killed Osama bin Laden despite a magazine article that implied otherwise, officials said Wednesday.

In a lengthy profile this week in Esquire magazine, the commando – whose identity was kept secret – is portrayed as a neglected hero who must buy private health insurance and struggle to earn income after retiring from a 16-year career in uniform.

But the Department of Veterans Affairs officials said the Seal, referred to as the "Shooter" in the Esquire article, would be eligible for free medical coverage for five years, like other war veterans.

Story continues below advertisement

"All combat veterans who served in Iraq and Afghanistan are entitled to receive comprehensive medical care from VA with no co-pay for service-related conditions for five years after the date of their discharge or release," the department said in a statement.

However, the medical benefits would not cover his family, officials said.

The newspaper Stars and Stripes first questioned the article's reference to the Seal receiving "no health care" in his retirement, saying the magazine's author, Phil Bronstein, got his facts wrong.

But Esquire stood by the story, saying "nowhere in Bronstein's piece does he write that the Shooter was 'denied' health care," and that the Seal had to purchase insurance for himself and his family in the private market.

That the commando apparently was unaware of the benefits he could apply for was in itself an embarrassment for the government, which has struggled to improve services for veterans who must contend with an often inefficient bureaucracy.

Veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan also are eligible for education benefits that cover tuition, fees and housing costs.

Report an error
Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to feedback@globeandmail.com. If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to letters@globeandmail.com.

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff.

We aim to create a safe and valuable space for discussion and debate. That means:

  • Treat others as you wish to be treated
  • Criticize ideas, not people
  • Stay on topic
  • Avoid the use of toxic and offensive language
  • Flag bad behaviour

Comments that violate our community guidelines will be removed.

Read our community guidelines here

Discussion loading ...

Cannabis pro newsletter