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Affordable Care Act has little effect on TRICARE beneficiaries

Posted 10/31/2013   Updated 10/31/2013 Email story   Print story


by Jerilyn Quintanilla
59th Medical Wing Public Affairs

10/31/2013 - JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-LACKLAND, Texas -- The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act is now in effect. The new law has some military members, retirees and TRICARE beneficiaries wondering how it will affect them.

For most TRICARE beneficiaries, it won't have any effect.

Beneficiaries who receive benefits under any TRICARE program meet the minimum essential coverage under the Affordable Care Act. This includes: TRICARE Prime, Prime Remote and Standard; TRICARE Reserve Select , TRICARE Young Adult, TRICARE Retired Reserve, the Continued Health Care Benefit Program, Veterans Health Care Program, VA Civilian Health and Medical Program and Spina Bifida Health Care Benefits Program.

However, in order to for these TRICARE programs to qualify as minimum essential coverage, eligible members must be enrolled and be in good standing.

There are two groups of TRICARE beneficiaries who do not meet the minimum essential coverage requirement - those getting care for line-of-duty only related conditions and direct care only beneficiaries.

Beneficiaries and retirees not enrolled in any of these health care coverage plans, employer based plans, or Medicare must seek coverage through the Health Insurance Marketplace or visit the VA health care website at for coverage options.

At the beginning of the year, TRICARE beneficiaries will receive a notification letter from the Department of Defense detailing the sponsor and dependents who had minimum essential coverage during the previous year. This information is also sent to the Internal Revenue Service and can be used when filing taxes.

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