The Tricare Young Adult program will remain an available health coverage option for adult children of troops and military retirees under a final rule issued Wednesday by the Obama administration.
The rule makes permanent the program, available to unmarried children under age 26 of Tricare-eligible sponsors who don’t qualify for their own health insurance or meet the age requirements to remain on regular Tricare — age 21, or 23 if the beneficiary is a full-time college student.
Tricare Young Adult was established in 2011, providing military dependents the same extension of coverage required by the Affordable Care Act, which directed private health insurers to extend coverage for dependent children to age 26.
Some have criticized the program because it requires significant premiums — monthly fees not required of beneficiaries of traditional Tricare Standard and Prime.
Active-duty troops and families in Prime pay no enrollment fees; military retirees pay annual fees of $269.28 for an individual or $538.56 for a family. Standard is a traditional fee-for-service program that requires cost shares and co-payments for all participants.
The monthly TYA premiums in 2013 are $176 for Prime and $152 for Standard.
Under the lengthy comment period solicited on the Federal Register since TYA was introduced, however, only one person voiced an opinion of TYA, and that comment was positive.
“TYA program will undoubtedly increase health insurance coverage for young adults up to age 26 who otherwise may have gone uninsured,” wrote the commenter, the president of the American Academy of Pediatrics.
Sen. Mark Udall, D-Colo., sponsor of the original legislation that extended the coverage, said Thursday that he welcomed the program’s codification.
“We have an obligation to ensure that our active-duty military personnel and their families have access to top-quality and affordable health care. I’m proud that the provision I authored and pushed for is allowing the Department of Defense to provide military families and dependent children with the coverage they need,” Udall said.