Department of Defense To Extend Health Insurance for Some National Guard, Reserve Members
The Department of Defense will allow National Guard and Reserve members mobilized since the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks to retain health insurance for as many as eight years after active duty, department officials said on Thursday, the AP/San Francisco Chronicle reports. Under the current system, Guard and Reserve members can retain health insurance under Tricare for as many as six months after active duty.
The new system will allow Guard and Reserve members to retain health insurance under Tricare for between one and eight years, based on the length of their mobilization and whether they remain in the Guard or Reserve, according to Thomas Hall, assistant defense secretary for reserve affairs. Based on rank, Guard and Reserve members will pay monthly premiums of between $50 and $150 for individual health insurance and between $100 and $300 for family coverage.
William Winkenwerder, assistant defense secretary for health affairs, said that "many thousands to tens of thousands" of Guard and Reserve members likely will benefit from the new system. However, Hall said that he expects most Guard and Reserve members to resume employer-sponsored health insurance after active duty.
DOD officials estimate that the new system will cost $70 million for the current fiscal year, which ends Sept. 30, and $394 million for FY 2006 (Burns, AP/San Francisco Chronicle, 3/25).