Tuesday, December 22, 2009

TRICARE Program for Gray Area Reservists On Its Way

December 17, 2009
No. 09-76
FALLS CHURCH, Va. - A new program will offer "gray area" reservists the
opportunity to purchase TRICARE health care coverage.

While qualified members of the Selected Reserve may purchase
premium-based coverage under TRICARE Reserve Select (TRS), retired National
Guard and Reserve personnel did not have TRICARE health coverage options
until they reached age 60.

Under a provision of the National Defense Authorization Act for
2010, that's all changed.

The new provision will allow certain members of the Retired
Reserve who are not yet age 60 ("gray-area" retirees), to purchase TRICARE
Standard (and Extra) coverage. TRICARE Extra simply means beneficiaries
have lower out of pocket costs if they use a network provider.

"We're working hard to coordinate all the details of
eligibility, coverage and costs, and expedite implementation of this
important program," said Rear Adm. Christine Hunter, deputy director of the
TRICARE Management Activity. "This is a major benefit program with
implementation on the same magnitude as TRS. It will require detailed
design, development and testing, but qualified retired reservists should be
able to purchase coverage by late summer or early fall of 2010."

While the health care benefit provided for gray-area retirees
will be TRICARE Standard and Extra - similar to TRS - the new program will
differ from TRS in its qualifications, premiums, copayment rates and
catastrophic cap requirements. The program is tentatively called TRICARE
Retired Reserve.

The new statute requires premium rates to equal the full cost of
the coverage. That is the major difference contrasted with TRS, where the
statute provides that Selected Reserve members pay only 28 percent of the
cost of the coverage. Premiums for the new gray area retiree program will be
announced after program rules are published in the Federal Register.

This new program offers an important health coverage option for
Reserve and National Guard members who served their country honorably before
hanging up their uniforms at retirement, said Hunter. For more information
about TRICARE benefits go to http://www.tricare.mil.

About TRICARE Management Activity and the Military Health System
TRICARE Management Activity, the Defense Department activity that
administers the health care plan for the uniformed services, retirees and
their families, serves more than 9.5 million eligible beneficiaries
worldwide in the Military Health System (MHS). The mission of the MHS is to
enhance Department of Defense and national security by providing health
support for the full range of military operations. The MHS provides quality
medical care through a network of providers, military treatment facilities,
medical clinics and dental clinics worldwide. For more about the MHS go to
http://www.health.mil.

3 comments:

CI-Roller Dude said...

That's good news. I may retire from the guard next year and the police dept a year or so later..and I'd have to pay for my medical...but with tricare, I can afford to buy more medical marijuna or whatever.

Sojack said...

Okay, that's hilarious Roller Dude!

Navy Spouse said...

Where are they going to get the doctors and nurses to deliver on this promise?