Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Moran and Blumenthal introduce bipartisan Veterans TRICARE Choice Act

KANSAS CITY, KAN. ---- U.S. Senators Jerry Moran (R-Kan.) and Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), both members of the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee, today introduced the Veterans TRICARE Choice Act of 2015, S. 448, which would give TRICARE-eligible veterans the ability to pause TRICARE benefits and contribute to a Heath Savings Account (HSA).

The bipartisan bill addresses the inequities of current federal law which prevents retired veterans from participating in their employer’s HSA program due to their eligibility for TRICARE.

“Veterans and their families deserve the highest-quality health care for their service to our country,” Sen. Moran said. “They should not be denied the opportunity to select the best health care option for their needs just because of their service to our country. Our legislation would make certain veterans, as well as members of the National Guard and Reserves, are given the same opportunity as their coworkers to select the health care plan they want. Our nation’s heroes should not have to opt out of the TRICARE benefits they earned just because they want to participate in an HSA program offered by their employer.”

“This legislation will help ensure that military retirees have access to affordable, quality health care and the opportunity to select the best plan from a wide range of options,” Sen. Blumenthal said. “Military retirees should not be required to forfeit TRICARE benefits they earned while serving our nation just so they can receive benefits that best fit their family’s needs.”

HSAs 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 HSAs, which are then used to pay for qualified medical expenses.

Providing retired veterans with the option to either participate with their employer’s health plan and HSA or continue their TRICARE health plan not only benefits veterans, but also saves taxpayers money when their benefits are voluntarily paused.

The Veterans TRICARE Choice Act of 2015 is supported by the Air Line Pilots Association (ALPA), The Retired Enlisted Association (TREA), The Association of the United States Navy (AUSN), and The National Guard Association of the United States (NGAUS).

The House companion bill is led by U.S. Reps. Chris Stewart (R-Utah) and Tulsi Gabbard (D-Hawaii).