YOU ASK:

I am on active military duty and I fear that my TRICARE coverage will be affected? Will it?

WE ANSWER:

No, it will not be affected. TRICARE will continue to provide coverage to those eligible, including their dependents.

To quote a statement issued by Defense Secretary Robert Gates on March 21, 2010, the government is "committed to seeing that our troops, retirees and their families will continue to receive the best quality health care". Ensuring the TRICARE coverage is maintained is the secretary's highest priority.

The healthcare reform bill (as well as a separate bill) will work to ensure that the country's servicemen and women will enjoy quality care. Here are some of the protections provided by the new health care reform bill:

  • Benefits, eligibility rules, as well as co-payment levels remain virtually unchanged.
  • TRICARE will ensure that those covered are able to meet the responsibility requirement as outlined by the healthcare reform bill. You see, citizens will be required to be ensured or else face penalties. Those on TRICARE coverage will meet the minimum level of covered required by the new bill. This means that those who are on this coverage will not need to face the penalties, nor will they need to buy additional coverage.
  • The way your health care is administered and provided will remain unchanged. The administration of this insurance still falls under the purview of the Defense Department.
  • TRICARE recipients will not need to shell money out for out-of-pocket expenditures.
  • The bill will not force those on TRICARE to transfer to another government-sponsored health care program.
  • TRICARE premiums or enrollment fees will also stay the same, unless there are other factors not related to the healthcare reform bill.
  • The age limit for children who are covered under the TRICARE program remains the same. Those who are 21 years old and under or who are up to 23 years old but are on a full-time school program will be covered. This is in contrast with the new age limit for children to stay under their parents' plans, which is now moved to 26 years old.
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