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Since the enactment of the health care reform law, there has been considerable confusion surrounding its effects on military health care programs. I am pleased to share with you that on April 26, 2010 the President signed into law legislation that I introduced to fully protect TRICARE and other military health care programs for service members, veterans, and their families under the newly enacted health care reform law.
The millions of Americans who receive these benefits can now rest assured that their health care is secure. Thanks to the strong support of our nation’s leading military and veterans organizations, the law explicitly states that the coverage provided by TRICARE and other military health programs meets the minimal essential coverage required under the new health care reform law.
As one who grew up in the military, served as a Marine in Vietnam and spent five years in the Pentagon, I know the special obligation we have to provide our military servicemembers, their families, and our veterans with the very finest health care coverage available. TRICARE, TRICARE for Life, and the DOD nonappropriated fund (NAF) provide health coverage to members of the military and their families, military retirees and their families, and employees of U.S. military post/base exchanges and other nonappropriated fund activities. Additionally, beneficiaries of TRICARE for Life and military veterans’ health care programs also satisfy requirements for individual health insurance under the health care reform bill and will not be required to purchase additional coverage.
Success of my bill, the TRICARE Affirmation Act was received with strong praise from numerous military service organizations, including the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW), the Military Officers Association of America (MOAA), the National Association for Uniformed Services (NAUS), and the Air Force Association (AFA).
In addition to representing Virginia’s military servicemembers and veterans, I am honored to serve as chairman of the Personnel Subcommittee of the Senate Committee on Armed Services, which oversees military health care and benefits. Supporting our military servicemembers and families remains one of my highest priorities in the Senate and I will continue working to support policies that provide deserved benefits.
If you have questions regarding your military health care benefits, please do not hesitate to contact the state office nearest you or visit my website at www.webb.senate.gov for more information.