Understanding Health Care Reform's Effect on TRICARE

The passage of the Health Care Reform Act raised the issue of military families and survivors of veterans seeing health care costs rise or worse. Based on preliminary reading of the final act it appears these fears were unfounded.

In addition, to the concerns over diminished health care benefits for servicemembers, their families and veterans, many are beginning to ask if any of the added benefits associated with HCR will apply to TRICARE. For example, many beneficiaries with dependent children are asking how the Health Care Reform Act (Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act) will impact their children age 26 and younger.

TRICARE's official answer:
"Our current age limits -- 21, or age 23, if the dependent is in a full-time school program -- are set by statute, so separate legislation would be required to change them. If changes are made to the statues governing TRICARE, then, like any other legislative initiative, time will be required for us to implement the changes. Until that time, the benefit remains unaffected by the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act."

According the Fleet Reserve Association, Representative Martin Heinrich (N.M.) has introduced "The TRICARE Dependent Coverage Extension Act" (H.R. 4923), a bill that would extend TRICARE coverage for dependent children to the maximum age of 26.

Let your elected officials and the DoD know how you feel about this issue. Visit the Military.com Legislative Center to send them a letter.

Additional resources and articles addressing the affects on TRICARE and the VA Health Care System:

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