By unanimous consent, the Senate has passed the TRICARE Affirmation Act, sending the bill to the President for his signature into law. TRICARE, TRICARE for Life, and Veterans' Health Care all meet the minimum quality of coverage requirements in the recently-passed health insurance reform legislation. While the legislation explicitly stated that the TRICARE for Life is not affected by the individual responsibility requirement, it did not explicitly state that TRICARE also meets the individual responsibility requirement. Out of an abundance of caution, the House passed the TRICARE Affirmation Act to further clarify that all those serving in the military and their families, and military retirees and their families under age 65, have health care that meets the minimum benefit standard in the reform bill.
Speaker Pelosi on the bill’s movement:
Our men and women in uniform and their families deserve the best care and support our country can offer.
The health insurance reform legislation enacted last month fully protects the health care benefits of our active duty military, military retirees, and their families — with these benefits fully meeting the bill's minimum requirements for individual health insurance. None of its provisions would undermine or affect the excellent health coverage these brave men and women and their families already receive.
In an abundance of caution, the Congress has passed the TRICARE Affirmation Act, explicitly stating that the health care benefits provided by the Department of Defense to our men and women in uniform and military retirees meet the requirements for individual health insurance in the legislation. And it ensures that no member of our military will be required to purchase coverage beyond what they currently have.
By clearly reiterating these protections, the TRICARE Affirmation Act received the strong support of the Military Officers Association of America and veterans' service organizations. It reflects our dedication to those in uniform, and we look forward to the President signing it into law.
House Armed Services Committee Chairman Ike Skelton (D-MO), the bill’s author:
Our nation's military provides us with first-class protection, and it is our obligation to provide them — and their families — with first-class health care in return. Now that the TRICARE Affirmation Act has been unanimously approved by the House and the Senate, I look forward to the President signing my bill into law.
TRICARE and the NAF health plans meet the minimum requirements for individual health insurance coverage in the recently enacted health care bill, and no TRICARE or NAF health plan beneficiary will be required to purchase additional coverage beyond what they already have. However, to reassure our military service members and their families and make it perfectly clear that they will not be negatively affected by the health care reform law, the TRICARE Affirmation Act explicitly states that TRICARE and the NAF health plans meet the minimum requirements for individual health insurance.
For more on this issue, see our previous post: Health Insurance Reform Will Not Harm Military or Veterans' Health Care»