Johnson introduces TRICARE Fairness for National Guard and Reserve Retirees Act

Johnson Introduces TRICARE Fairness for National Guard and Reserve Retirees Act 

WASHINGTON, D.C. – A bill has been introduced in Congress concerning National Guard and retirees.

Congressman Bill Johnson (R-Marietta) released the following statement after introducing H.R. 1997 known as the TRICARE Fairness for National Guard and Reserve Retirees Act with Congressman Dean Phillips (D-MN), “This commonsense legislation would permit Retired Reserve personnel (former National Guard and Reserve members) who are not yet age 60, but are receiving retirement pay, to purchase lower-cost TRICARE health coverage specifically designed for retired military personnel. Under current law, Reserve Component personnel may retire before age 60, but not before 50, based on active-duty performance. These retirees are currently eligible for the costly TRICARE Retired Reserve plans – but not the less costly TRICARE healthcare plans. When Congress authorized a reduction in the retirement age to below 60 for our National Guard and Reserve members in 2008, it erred by not ensuring that eligibility for the TRICARE Standard, TRICARE Extra, and TRICARE Prime healthcare plans were also lowered,” said Bill Johnson.

 “That’s why I’ve introduced H.R. 1997, the TRICARE Fairness for National Guard and Reserve Retirees Act with my colleague Congressman Dean Phillips (D-MN). This legislation would align the age that many Retired Reserve personnel begin receiving retired pay with the age at which they become eligible for the less costly TRICARE healthcare plans,” stated Johnson.

 “As a Gold Star Son, I know that our service members deserve our utmost respect and unbending support,” said Rep. Dean Phillips. “Providing affordable, high-quality healthcare should be the minimum standard of support afforded to our service members, especially those in the National Guard and Reserve who have earned early retirement. H.R. 1997 brings our nation one step closer to this goal, which is why I am proud to have introduced it alongside Rep. Johnson.”

Johnson added, “With everything our National Guard and Reserve members do for us, the least we can do is ensure that when they finish their service to our country and retire, they are not forced to wait up to ten years before being eligible for the less costly TRICARE healthcare plans they have earned. We owe it to them to get this legislation across the finish line.”

The companion legislation in the Senate is being sponsored by Senators Rob Portman of Ohio and Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts.

Additional Support for this Legislation:

Lt. Gen. Dana T. Atkins, USAF (Ret), MOAA president and CEO, “Our nation asks a lot from the reserve component, both abroad and at home. The least we can do after a career of service and sacrifice is to ensure fair health care access for all retirees who are drawing retirement pay. MOAA strongly supports theTRICARE Fairness for National Guard and Reserve Retirees Act and urges swift passage.”

Reserve Organization of American (ROA) statement, “ROA appreciates the TRICARE Fairness for National Guard and Reserve Retirees Act that Representatives Bill Johnson and Dean Phillips are introducing on behalf of our Citizen Warriors. For too many years these warriors have paid double what other retirees pay for TRICARE health care. When Congress passed early age retiree legislation it was to recognize the lengthy deployments to Iran and Iraq by Reserve and National Guard. ROA President, Judith Davenport, observed, too often these warriors suffer from toxic exposure, IEDs and other injuries and they should not be punished with higher health care costs!”