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Lawmakers looking to extend Tricare coverage to some adult children

U.S. Rep. Elaine Luria speaks outside of Sentara COVID-19 Command Center in Virginia Beach on Saturday, March 14, 2020. (Kristen Zeis/The Virginian-Pilot/TNS)
January 30, 2021

The one group of Americans who can’t use their health insurance cover adult children up to the age of 26 are military personnel with Tricare insurance, and Rep. Elaine Luria (D-VA), wants to change that.

She’s teaming up with fellow veteran Rep. Michael Waltz (R-FL) on legislation that would allow military dependents to stay on Tricare plans until they are 26.

Currently, Tricare dependents are only permitted to stay on their parents’ policies until they are 21, unless they are enrolled full-time at an approved institution of higher learning and the parent provides over half of the dependent’s financial support, when the cutoff is 23.

“I think this is an important oversight to correct,” Luria said.

She said she regularly hears about the issue from constituents and added her family has faced the gap in coverage with her adult step-children.

“We can’t have our military worried about their families when they go down range to take care of the nation’s business,” Waltz said.

While one estimate puts the cost of such an expansion of Tricare at $150 million, Waltz said it brings offsetting benefits in terms of recruiting and retaining military personnel. When the balance is calculated, he said he expects Congress will decide expansion is worth the cost.

The Affordable Care Act says all plans in the individual market and all employer plans must provide coverage until a child reaches the age of 26. Both married and unmarried children qualify for this coverage.

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