Military families must pay to extend TRICARE coverage to adult dependents

Thinkstock

A popular component of the 2010 Affordable Care Act allowing adult children to stay on their parents’ health care plans until age 26 has been a little less popular among military members. That’s because military families covered by TRICARE must pay as much as $200 a month to benefit from extended coverage.

According to The Wall Street Journal, families must pay either $176 or $201 a month per young adult dependent to prolong coverage, depending on their specific TRICARE plan. Most families in private plans do not pay for the extension. The 2010 health law did not apply to TRICARE, but a separate law required the military health plan to adopt the popular provision of the Affordable Care Act. Legislators, however, would not support providing the extended coverage to TRICARE beneficiaries for free, the Journal reported Monday.

The Defense Department told The Wall Street Journal that the fee has deterred military families from seeking the extension: of 230,000 young-adult dependents of service members who could have signed up, only 20,740 had opted for an extension by the August deadline.

Before the Affordable Care Act, TRICARE allowed children to stay on their parents’ plans only until age 21, or 23 if the child was a full-time college student. Children of civilian federal employees covered by the Federal Employees Health Benefit Plan were eligible for extended coverage under the law starting in January 2011. Children who lose FEHBP coverage when they turn 26 qualify for temporary continuation of coverage for up to 36 months.

TRICARE fee hikes are on the table this budget cycle as part of the Defense Department’s efforts to rein in spending. The Obama administration’s budget request includes new TRICARE co-pays, additional increases to TRICARE Prime enrollment fees, initiation of standard and extra annual enrollment fees, and adjustments to deductibles and catastrophic coverage caps. These efforts are expected to save the department as much as $12.1 billion during the next 10 years. Lawmakers, however, have resisted plans to increase fees.

Most TRICARE beneficiaries do not pay premiums to participate, and the cost of premiums for each young adult under TRICARE is expected to fall to $152 or $176 per month. The fees are based on data for medical costs incurred by similar dependents and administrative expenses, according to the Journal.

Stay up-to-date with federal news alerts and analysis — Sign up for GovExec's email newsletters.
FROM OUR SPONSORS
JOIN THE DISCUSSION
Close [ x ] More from GovExec
 
 

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from GovExec.com.
We think these reports might interest you:

  • Going Agile:Revolutionizing Federal Digital Services Delivery

    Here’s one indication that times have changed: Harriet Tubman is going to be the next face of the twenty dollar bill. Another sign of change? The way in which the federal government arrived at that decision.

    Download
  • Cyber Risk Report: Cybercrime Trends from 2016

    In our first half 2016 cyber trends report, SurfWatch Labs threat intelligence analysts noted one key theme – the interconnected nature of cybercrime – and the second half of the year saw organizations continuing to struggle with that reality. The number of potential cyber threats, the pool of already compromised information, and the ease of finding increasingly sophisticated cybercriminal tools continued to snowball throughout the year.

    Download
  • Featured Content from RSA Conference: Dissed by NIST

    Learn more about the latest draft of the U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology guidance document on authentication and lifecycle management.

    Download
  • GBC Issue Brief: The Future of 9-1-1

    A Look Into the Next Generation of Emergency Services

    Download
  • GBC Survey Report: Securing the Perimeters

    A candid survey on cybersecurity in state and local governments

    Download
  • The New IP: Moving Government Agencies Toward the Network of The Future

    Federal IT managers are looking to modernize legacy network infrastructures that are taxed by growing demands from mobile devices, video, vast amounts of data, and more. This issue brief discusses the federal government network landscape, as well as market, financial force drivers for network modernization.

    Download
  • eBook: State & Local Cybersecurity

    CenturyLink is committed to helping state and local governments meet their cybersecurity challenges. Towards that end, CenturyLink commissioned a study from the Government Business Council that looked at the perceptions, attitudes and experiences of state and local leaders around the cybersecurity issue. The results were surprising in a number of ways. Learn more about their findings and the ways in which state and local governments can combat cybersecurity threats with this eBook.

    Download

When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.