Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Will TRICARE Cover Adult Children?

Some of us, specifically military, military retirees, and military dependents, currently have TRICARE as our health insurance, and for the most part TRICARE works very well. The ObamaCare bills recently passed through congress FORTUNATELY excluded any changes to TRICARE. However, some people have asked if adult children through the age of 26 can be added to parent's coverage under TRICARE as the ObamaCare bill currently does. The answer to this question is no; it does not allow adult children to be added beyond the age of 21, or 23 (if in college), in it's current form. However, Congress will attempt to ‘fix’ TRICARE, incorporating a nanny state policy with legislation, HR 4923; I hope they don’t screw up anything with this legislation. This is when it gets scary, when they start trying to make changes to TRICARE; sometimes good intentions by clueless people can cause unintentional damage. I know that for some, this new policy may be important to ensure their adult children have some type of medical insurance coverage. For me personally, and other than for special needs children who have always been covered under the existing plan, teaching our children to be responsible adults has always been our family’s goal, this includes instilling the importance of health care, health care insurance, and self support when they become adults. My concern now is how much of an increase in funding will it require to include additional family members? And, does the house resolution include an increase in funding to existing appropriations that will be used to pay the health care costs of those additional persons or will it cut our services to accommodate that increase? In reading the resolution, it does not address any funding other than the additional premiums [“that the Secretary determines on an appropriate actuarial basis] they will receive for additional people and “credited to the appropriation available for the Defense Health Program.” On a positive note, and I say this with tongue in cheek, they are keeping those added premium in the Defense Health Program and not passing them on to the new entitlements in ObamaCare. The bottom line, I do not trust our congressmen/women, those folks in congress can screw up boiling water, so stand by and be vigilant. Below is the text answer to the question of adult children up to the age of 26; it can be found on the Congress.org site:

Will TRICARE cover adult children?

"Will the new health care bill force the military and Tricare to cover children until age 26 as civilian insurance will be required to do?" -- Brad Ortzman, Senior Master Sergeant USAF (Ret).

While most TRICARE beneficiaries have been relieved to hear that their health system will not be changed by the recently enacted health care reform legislation, those with dependent children between ages 23 and 26 may be disappointed. The health overhaul law requires health plans and insurance issuers to provide dependent coverage for adult children until they turn 26, though it does not require them to make coverage available to grandchildren. This provision goes into effect on Sept. 23, 2010. TRICARE, the single-payer health care system for veterans, currently allows beneficiaries' children to stay on their parents' plans through age 21, or up to age 23 if the child is a full-time student. However, TRICARE is governed by a different section of the U.S. code and would not be affected in any way by the new law. Lawmakers are now moving to amend the TRICARE laws to change the maximum age of coverage for dependents from 23 to 26. Rep. Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.) introduced a bill, (HR 4923), to make this change on March 24, after the health care law had been signed.

-- Frances Symes, Congress.org