Tester, Murkowski Introduce Bipartisan Bill to Eliminate TRICARE Enrollment Fees for Retired Veterans

The TRICARE Select Restoration Act would reinstate full health care protections for vets who retired prior to 2018

In an effort to protect military retirees’ earned health care, Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee Chairman Jon Tester (D-Mont.) and U.S. Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) introduced bipartisan legislation to eliminate TRICARE Select enrollment fees for veterans who retired prior to 2018.

“No military retiree should ever be at risk of losing their health care coverage-especially during a global pandemic,” said Tester. “Our bipartisan bill will ensure that retired veterans aren’t burdened by costly enrollment fees that put themselves and their family’s health care in jeopardy. This legislation is a critical step in supporting more folks during these tough times, and I’ll keep fighting until every man and woman who has selflessly served our nation has access to affordable, high-quality care.”

“Because the vast majority of Alaska’s retired veterans have never paid for TRICARE, the charges that started on January 1, 2021 come as a surprise to many. Service men and women were guaranteed medical care without cost as part of their military service. Enforcing an application fee for access to care goes back on that promise. I’m glad to join Senator Tester in support of legislation to eliminate unnecessary annual enrollment fees for certain retired veterans and reduce those fees for individuals and families,” said Murkowski. “COVID-19 has had significant impacts on America’s veterans and their families. We must guarantee their hard-earned medical benefits are protected throughout this public health crisis, and beyond.”

On January 1, 2021, annual enrollment fees for TRICARE Select beneficiaries went into effect, increasing the financial burden on countless military retirees. Under this law, beneficiaries who retired before January 1, 2018 are subject to health care enrollment fees under TRICARE Select health plans. The Senators’ TRICARE Select Restoration Act would eliminate enrollment fees for retired beneficiaries of this group, ensuring that these retirees are not subject to these burdensome costs.

“MOAA fought the new TRICARE Select enrollment fee years ago when it was proposed as part of military health system reform, because it fundamentally devalues the benefit and reduces health care protections for military retirees,” said President and CEO of Military Officer Association of America (MOAA) Lt. Gen. Dana T. Atkins. “We appreciate Sen. Tester and Sen. Murkowski’s efforts to eliminate the enrollment fee and reinstate full health care protections for those who retired before 2018. We thank Sen. Tester and Sen. Murkowski for taking this step to reverse the unacceptable move of cutting TRICARE benefits after servicemembers have fulfilled the obligations of a full career.”

Text of the TRICARE Select Restoration Act can be found HERE.