WASHINGTON (Army News Service, April 6, 2010) -- Servicemembers and retirees enrolled in one of the several forms of TRICARE won't have to buy additional health insurance and won't see a change in their healthcare coverage in the near future, according to Secretary of Defense Robert Gates.

The new Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act signed by President Barrack Obama March 23 requires all Americans to have health insurance, and places strict guidelines for insurance companies to follow.

However, TRICARE already meets the goals and requirements of the reform, and will not be affected, according to the Army Surgeon General's office.

"Families can be re-assured that the health care reform legislation being passed by the Congress will not negatively impact the TRICARE medical insurance program, as it already meets the bill's quality and minimum benefit standards," said Gates.

TRICARE will remain under the sole authority of the Defense Department and the Secretary of Defense.

"As Secretary of Defense, the health and well-being of America's men and women in uniform is my highest priority. The president and I are committed to seeing that our troops, retirees and their families will continue to receive the best quality health care," Gates said.

Army Surgeon General Lt. Gen. Eric B. Schoomaker blogged about the many inquires on the maximum age of dependents receiving TRICARE. The new act states that parents can choose to keep children on their health insurance plan until their 26th birthday, but that is not the case for TRICARE.

"By law, TRICARE covers eligible dependent children up to the age of 21, or up to age 23 if enrolled fulltime at an accredited institution of higher education and reliant on the sponsor for more than 50 percent of their financial support," Schoomaker wrote.

Based on current legislation, TRICARE is not required by the healthcare reform provision to cover older dependent children.

Page last updated Fri July 22nd, 2011 at 12:16