Fair Healthcare For Military Reservists

Fair Healthcare For Military Reservists

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Kenneth S started this petition to U.S. Senate and

In 2007, Congress passed legislation giving members of the Reserves and National Guard access to TRICARE health coverage.  However, the legislation does not allow for those serving to enroll in TRICARE if they are also federal employees eligible for the Federal Employee Health Benefits (FEHB).  


It is not difficult to see why legislators would rather have young, healthy people who serve in the Armed Forces be insured through a FEHB plan than be allowed access to less expensive health care coverage through TRICARE. Having a pool of young and healthy adults lowers premiums and increases income for private insurers.


However, access to TriCare is a critical recruitment and retention tool and helps sailors, marines, airman and soldiers maintain readiness for their next assignment.  Members of the National Guard and Reserves have an enduring commitment to our country, still deploy on essential missions, and respond to national emergencies whether they are employees of the federal government or not.  There should not be a distinction - all members who serve should be eligible for this benefit.


In 2016, my wife gave birth to identical twin boys while I was on Active Duty.  One of my sons was born with Cerebral Palsy Hemiplegia. In 2018, I separated to pursue other career goals and will eventually work for the federal government.  I joined the US Navy Reserves to continue serving my country and utilize the TRICARE health benefit so I could get quality, affordable health care for my family.  My son requires extensive physical therapy, routine doctor's visits and several braces to correct issues related to his condition. Currently, I pay about $3,500 a year for healthcare.  As a federal employee, I may pay double. My wife stays home with my sons so she can attend his therapy sessions and ensure he is getting the proper care and early childhood education he needs.  I should not have to choose between working as a federal employee and paying for my son’s care as I serve my country in uniform. Neither should anyone else.


During the 115th Congress, Senator Orin Hatch introduced legislation to remove the distinction preventing those eligible for FEHB from enrolling in TRICARE.  Unfortunately, the legislation did not make it to the floor. However, it was reintroduced at the start of the 116th Congress as S. 164 and H.R. 613. These are bipartisan bills that will remove this discriminatory practice and preserve benefits of men and women in uniform.


Whether you are a federal employee or not, these bills are not only important to the families of service-members, but also important to our national security so that we may retain the best and brightest to always be ready to protect the nation.  I urge you to support this petition and let our congressional representatives know that if you serve, you will receive the benefits for which were promised.


H.R. 613

https://www.congress.gov/bill/116th-congress/house-bill/613/text


S. 164

https://www.congress.gov/bill/116th-congress/senate-bill/164/text

 

 

 

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