Tester Urges Defense Department to Provide Swift Financial Relief for Retired Veterans Impacted by New TRICARE Enrollment Fees

Senator requests 12-month grace period for impacted beneficiaries to ensure no former servicemember loses TRICARE coverage during ongoing COVID-19 crisis

(U.S. Senate) – As the Defense Health Agency (DHA) moves to implement new TRICARE Select enrollment fees, U.S. Senator Jon Tester is urging the Department of Defense (DOD) to swiftly provide a 12-month grace period for impacted veterans to ensure no retiree loses health care coverage during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“…The COVID-19 pandemic has had unprecedented impacts on the health and economy of our nation,” Tester wrote to Defense Secretary Mark Esper. “No military retiree or their loved ones should be at risk of losing their health care coverage and not receiving the care they need in the midst of this pandemic. By implementing a 12-month grace period, the Department can ensure that all military retirees and their families have adequate time and notice to meet the new TRICARE Select requirements and maintain their health care coverage. Those who have selflessly served our nation deserve to have access to affordable, high-quality health care.”

On January 1, 2021, monthly enrollment fees for Group A retirees using TRICARE Select will go into effect, jeopardizing the medical coverage of countless former servicemen and women. Montana was home to 37,000 TRICARE beneficiaries in fiscal year 2019.

Tester highlighted, “As you know, it is unlikely that Congress could move swiftly enough to provide relief before the change takes effect, based upon how little time is left in the legislative calendar. By contrast, there is ample time for DOD to take action, and it is within your authority to do so. Implementing a grace period to pay new TRICARE Select enrollment fees would also be in keeping with recent decisions by the Department.”

Read Tester’s full letter to Secretary Esper HERE.