WASHINGTON, D.C. – Reps. Chris Stewart, R-Utah, and Tulsi Gabbard, D-Hawaii, both veterans, introduced the Veterans Tricare Choice Act Wednesday, which would give Tricare-eligible veterans the ability to contribute to a Health Savings Account program.
Under current federal law, it is illegal for a Tricare-eligible veteran to participate in a Health Savings Account program. The Veterans Tricare Choice Act simply gives veterans the choice to voluntarily pause their Tricare benefits in order to participate in a Health Savings Account program.
Health Savings Accounts have proven to be an effective way to pay for medical costs and proactively save for future medical expenses. Employees invest and save tax-free money in the health savings accounts, which is then used to pay for qualified medical expenses. These have become increasingly popular health care plans in the private sector.
“As a former Air Force Officer, I know first hand about the sacrifices made by veterans and their families,” Stewart said. “When they leave the military and enter the private workforce, they shouldn’t been denied opportunities given to nonveteran employees. This bill simply allows veterans to pause TRICARE benefits to participate in the same employer-sponsored HSA programs that nonveteran employees are given. It’s important that we honor our veterans by ensuring that they have access to the best healthcare options for themselves and their families.”
“Veterans working in the private sector should have the same healthcare choices that their civilian coworkers have,” Gabbard said. “As an Army National Guard soldier and veteran who has used TRICARE, I understand the challenges current policy poses for our veterans. TRICARE-eligible veterans who served our country honorably are denied access to other health plans unless they permanently opt out of TRICARE. This outdated policy does not serve our veterans or their families, and must be fixed. I’m proud to join my friend and fellow veteran, Congressman Stewart, to introduce the Veterans TRICARE Choice Act to do just that.”
Last Congress the House of Representatives bill garnered the support of 83 bipartisan co-sponsors, as well as support from the National Guard Association of the United States, the Retired Enlisted Association and the Association of the United States Navy.
Wednesday, Sen. Jerry Moran, R-Kan., and Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., introduced an identical bill in the United States Senate.
Read the House bill here: House of Representatives 2015 bill for Veterans TRICARE Choice Act
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