Forward Observer: Guard and Reserve Spouses: Do You Know About This “Minor” Health Care Change Coming?
Small Things Can Matter in the Worst of Times
Buried within the 2024 National Defense Authorization Act (PL 118-31) passed at the last moment and signed into law on 22 December 2024, is a provision in Section 702 called the “Extension Of Period Of Eligibility For Health Benefits Under Tricare Reserve Select For Survivors Of A Member Of The Selected Reserve.” It extended the period of eligibility from six months to three years. Unfortunately (and crassly), the provision does not start until 1 October 2025.
Nevertheless, it is not a small potatoes change for those unfortunate souls who might be affected partly because the benefit is subsidized by the federal government. Members who elect coverage under Tricare Reserve Select (TRS) pay a premium of 28% of the cost of the plan. Compare that with the offering to gray-area retirees who choose to enroll in TRICARE Retired Reserve. They pay the full cost of the plan.
And this nearly hidden amendment has significant importance for surviving family members of deceased National Guard and reserve members enrolled in TRS in another important way. “Instead of scurrying around to find replacement coverage, they can have some peace of mind that their health care coverage will continue, especially if the family is facing medical issues that might take longer than six months to resolve.”, as the Enlisted Association of the National Guard of the United States put it in their 5 February article, the source of this blog article.
For more information on current TRICARE plans, click here.
As of 9 February 2024