Bill would extend TRICARE coverage to adult children

Rep. Martin Heinrich, D-N.M., on Thursday introduced a bill that would extend TRICARE health coverage to dependent children from age 23 to age 26. TRICARE is the Defense Department's health program for military families, retirees and their families.

The TRICARE Dependent Coverage Extension Act (H.R. 4923), would require Defense to provide a key benefit created by the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act President Obama signed into law on Tuesday. That law allows parents to keep dependent children on family health insurance plans up to age 26.

TRICARE is governed by Title 10 of the U.S. Code and is not affected by the new health care law. H.R. 4923 would amend Title 10 to reflect the new requirement, which would take effect Oct. 1.

The bill also would authorize Defense to charge beneficiaries a premium for the additional coverage, to be determined based on "an appropriate actuarial basis."

"Allowing parents to provide health coverage to their dependent adult children is just one of the many small things we can do to show our military families how much we appreciate them and honor their service to our country," Heinrich said in a statement.

The bill was referred to the House Armed Services Committee on Thursday.

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