Support the TRICARE Reserve Select Improvement Act (S 164 and HR 613)

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Tell your Senators and Congressional Representatives to support the TRICARE Reserve Select Improvement Act. The bill has been introduced in the Senate as S. 164 by Senator Daines (R-MT) and in the House as H.R. 613 by Rep. Kelly (R-MS).

TRICARE Reserve Select (TRS) provides members of the National Guard and Reserves access to quality, low-cost, health insurance. However, since Federal employees who are also Reservists are eligible for health coverage through the Federal Employee Health Benefit (FEHB) Program, they are prohibited from purchasing TRS. In other words, these employees are subject to all the requirements of being a Reservist, including combat deployments and emergency response duty as members of the Guard, but are prevented from taking full advantage of the benefits available to them as Reservists due to a legal technicality.

From an employee-perspective, TRS is a much more affordable program. The average FEHB monthly employee premium for family coverage in 2017 (of all fee-for-service nationwide plans combined) was approximately $380 per month, compared to $218 for TRS. This means that, on average, an employee is ‘penalized’ $2,000 more per year for health coverage than their part-time counterparts. The ‘penalty’ reaches $4,000 more per year when you compare TRS to the $551/mo. for Blue Cross Blue Shield’s Standard plan (the most popular FEHB plan since 1990). That difference increases every year as FEHB premiums go up.  

We urge Congress to fix this inequity by amending Federal law to allow Federal employees who are members of the Guard and Reserve access to TRS.