posted on January 14, 2011 09:07
The Defense Department has finally formalized its plan to expand Tricare coverage for dependent children through age 26, bringing the military’s policy in line with the national health care reform law enacted last year. The new initiative, called the Tricare Young Adult Program, will offer Tricare Standard benefits. It is expected to be in place Spring 2011.
The program, which has generated intense interest among service members and their families, is a major extension of previous limits for Tricare coverage of dependent children, which were age 23 for full-time college students and age 21 for all others. To be eligible, older dependent children must be unmarried and must not be eligible for their own employer-sponsored health insurance. They will be able to purchase the Tricare coverage on a month-to-month basis.
One big question remains: the cost. The law that authorizes the Tricare expansion requires that the full cost of the coverage for older children must be paid by beneficiaries, with no subsidies from the Defense Department. Premiums have not yet been finalized, Pentagon officials said. Some military advocates have already expressed concerns that the mandate for beneficiaries to carry 100 percent of the costs may push the premiums too high for many families to afford. Once enrollment begins, families with eligible dependent children may obtain retroactive coverage back to Jan. 1, officials said.
Eligible family members who receive health care between now and the date the program is fully in place should save their receipts if they want to file for retroactive reimbursement. They will have to pay the monthly premiums back to Jan. 1 in order to obtain reimbursement. “We’ve been working hard to make sure we could put Tricare Young Adult on a fast track,” said Rear Adm. Christine Hunter, deputy director of the Tricare Management Activity. “This program has the potential to extend Tricare coverage to several hundred thousand additional beneficiaries.”
To read this more on this release, please visit: http://www.tricare.mil/mediacenter/news.aspx?fid=685