WASHINGTON, DC – Senators JD Vance (R-OH) and Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) have introduced legislation, the TRICARE Fairness for National Guard and Reserve Retirees Act, to expand affordable TRICARE options to retired National Guardsmen and reservists. If enacted, this legislation would save affected individuals thousands of dollars a year in healthcare costs.
“Our nation’s retired Guardsmen and reservists should have access to all the healthcare options offered by the TRICARE system,” said Senator Vance. “With this legislation, we have an opportunity to guarantee that these patriotic men and women receive the high-quality, affordable care they deserve. It’s the least we can do in recognition of their service to our country.”
“All three of my brothers served in the military, so I know the incredible sacrifices that servicemembers and their families make to keep our country safe,” said Senator Warren. “Members of the National Guard and reservists who retire early shouldn’t be denied access to affordable health care – this bipartisan bill will help our servicemembers receive the health care coverage they deserve.”
“Reserve Component members who earned early retirement pay through deployment credits should receive their full retirement package, including health care coverage. We thank Sens. Vance and Warren for their efforts to address this lapse in healthcare that should be inherent with any eligibility for retirement. National Guard and Reserve early retirees have made many sacrifices and their retirement should align with other uniformed retirees who are also eligible for TRICARE,” said Lt. Gen. Brian T. Kelly, USAF (Ret.), President and CEO of the Military Officers Association of America (MOAA).
“EANGUS would like to thank Sen. Vance and Sen. Warren for their work to provide affordable health care during the early retirement of National Guard servicemembers. Affordable health care is vital in determining when a servicemember can fully retire. National Guard Servicemembers consistently and selflessly answer the call to service from the President and their state’s Governor. Early retirement pay was an example the country used to show gratitude, but allowing the servicemember to retire in all aspects would mean they must also receive healthcare. Sen. Vance and Sen. Warren recognized that and took action,” said MSgt. Daniel Reilly, USAF (Ret.), President of the Enlisted Association of the National Guard of the United States (EANGUS).
“There is no plausible reason for early-age retirees of the Reserve and National Guard to pay thousands of dollars more for health care than all other military retirees. The Reserve Organization of America thanks Sen. Vance and Sen. Warren for sponsoring the TRICARE Fairness for National Guard and Reserve Retirees Act. This bill brings us one step closer to achieving equity in the military health system and puts an end to punishing servicemembers who earned their early retirement status with deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan,” said Maj. Gen. Jeff Phillips, U.S. Army (Ret.), Executive Director of the Reserve Organization of America (ROA).
The bill text is available here. Read more from Military.com.
- This legislation would align former Reserve and National Guard members’ eligibility for TRICARE, the U.S. military’s health care program, with the age at which they begin receiving their retired pay.
- At the moment, National Guard and Reserve retirees are eligible for most TRICARE plans at the age of 60, their default retirement age. Certain National Guard and Reserve members who deployed for a war or national emergency can be eligible to retire as early as age 50.
- However, these early retirees are only eligible for one TRICARE Plan, TRICARE Retired Reserve, between the ages of 50 and 60.
- This leaves these National Guard and Reserve retirees ineligible for other, potentially less costly, TRICARE plans for years of their retirement.