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Zero-cost TRICARE

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THE ISSUE: H.R.3512, The Healthcare for our Troops Act

ACTION: Immediately contact your Representative and ask them to support H.R.3512 sponsored by Reps. Andy Kim (D, NJ-03) and Trent Kelly (R, MS-04).

Please contact your Member of Congress by filling out the form below and urge them to support H.R.3512.

 

Background

NGAUS strongly supports H.R. 3512, the Healthcare for our Troops Act. This legislation would provide access to zero-cost TRICARE Reserve Select (TRS) and dental coverage to Reserve Component (RC) servicemembers. Additionally, this legislation expands TRS eligibility to RC servicemembers currently working for the federal government in their civilian capacity.

H.R. 3512 was introduced by Reps. Andy Kim (NJ-03) and Trent Kelly (MS-01). H.R. 3512 is originally co-sponsored by Reps. Tim Ryan (OH-13), Steven Palazzo (MS-04), Scott DesJarlais (TN-04), Elise Stefanik (NY-21) and Marc Veasey (TX-33).

Servicemembers are required to meet medical deployability requirements. An estimated 130,000 Guardsmen and Reservists do not have health insurance under the current disjointed system of third-party health contractors and Periodic Health Assessments (PHAs), which greatly impacts the Reserve Component’s medical readiness. Inconsistent healthcare coverage for members of the Reserve Component makes meeting these requirements difficult to achieve.

H.R. 3512 Healthcare for our Troops Act ensures servicemembers meet the medical standards required of a deployable force at no cost to them and their families. Additionally, this bill provides coverage for dental care, another common deployablitiy issue experienced by the Reserve Component. These changes would also provide the Department of Defense (DoD) with a powerful recruiting and retention tool, as well as a significant employer incentive to retain talented individuals in gainful civilian employment.

Under current law, National Guard and Reserve servicemembers who are federal employees in their civilian capacity are ineligible to enroll in TRS. This creates confusion in coordinating benefits for servicemembers and their families and prevents servicemembers from establishing continuity of care and treatment as they deploy or transition in or out of the federal government. H.R. 3512 strikes the language that disallows servicemembers from accessing TRS simply due to working for the federal government in their civilian capacity.