TRICARE and the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act

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The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) signed into law in 2010 had no direct effect on the TRICARE benefit. The bill meant changes in health care coverage for many Americans, but the legislation did not apply directly to TRICARE. Nor did the law change the Defense Department's commitment to seeing that our service members, retirees and their families continued to receive the best quality health care.

TRICARE is authorized by an independent set of statutes, and remains under sole authority of the Defense Department and the Secretary of Defense. Neither the passage of the PPACA or the recent Supreme Court ruling upholding the PPACA had a direct impact on the TRICARE benefit, or TRICARE's commitment to provide the best possible health care to its more than 9.7 million beneficiaries.

TRICARE provides coverage for pre-existing conditions and serious illnesses; offers an array of preventive care services with no cost shares; maintains reasonable out-of-pocket costs with no or low deductibles and copayments; and there are no annual or lifetime caps on coverage. For more information about TRICARE's covered clinical preventive services, go to www.tricare.mil/preventivecare.

One benefit addressed by the PPACA, but not already existing under TRICARE, was coverage of young adults up to age 26. Consequently, the National Defense Authorization Act signed into law in January 2011, led to the speedy implementation of TRICARE Young Adult (TYA.) TYA gives eligible uniformed services dependents under 26 who are unmarried, and not eligible for their own employer-sponsored health care coverage the option to purchase TYA. As of May 31, 2012, more than 17,000 beneficiaries are signed up for TYA plans - 11,171 in TYA Standard, and 6,407 in TYA Prime. For more information about TYA and how to purchase it, go to www.tricare.mil/tya.

TRICARE is a benefit established under law as the health care plan for the uniformed services, retirees and their families. More information about TRICARE and health care reform is available at www.TRICARE.mil. Beneficiaries may also sign up for automatic email updates on TRICARE programs.