Defense amends Tricare coverage

Great Falls Tribune

The Defense Department announced Wednesday that unmarried, military dependents without their own employer health insurance can qualify for their parents’ Tricare health insurance up to age 26.

Previously, dependents under Tricare could be insured only to age 21, or extended to age 23 for full-time college students.

U.S. Sen. Jon Tester, D-Mont., pushed for the change, which will match a provision of the health insurance reform law passed last year by Congress.

It extended health coverage for young adults to 26, but only under private insurance. It didn’t cover dependents whose parents receive government-provided health care, like Tricare.

Tester helped lead the effort to pass the Tricare Dependent Coverage Act, extending health coverage to military dependents up to age 26. He successfully helped attach the legislation to the National Defense Authorization Act for fiscal year 2011, which was passed into law last year.

“Montanans already are benefitting from new protections in the health insurance reform law, including young Montanans who can now stay on their parents’ insurance longer,” Tester said. “It’s common sense that we extend the same protections to the families of our troops, especially when they are sacrificing so much for our freedom.”