The objective of the study was to estimate the effect of a brief alcohol-reduction intervention on health care use. Male veterans aged 55 years and older drinking more than guideline limits participated in an effective primary care-based randomized clinical trial to reduce drinking. Repeated measures ANCOVA assessed short-term and long-term changes in both inpatient and outpatient utilization. Stage of change (SOC) was assessed in a subsample to test for interaction between SOC and the intervention. Veterans exposed to the intervention used more outpatient medical services in the short term. Long-term effects on inpatient/outpatient use were not observed. SOC did not moderate the effect of the intervention but was associated with differential use of health care services. A cost-effective brief intervention to reduce drinking may spur increased efforts to seek health care. Early detection and management of alcohol-related or other illnesses might be expected to accrue savings in later years.