Bill would allow military children to remain on parents' health insurance policies longer
FORT HOOD, Texas (KWTX) - Federal lawmakers are pushing legislation that would allow military children up to the age of 26 to remain on their parents health insurance plans, without paying monthly premiums.
If passed, the Health Care Fairness for Military Families Act would provide extended health care coverage for roughly 37,000 military families.
Under current law, military dependent children lose their health care eligibility at 21 or at 23 if they’re full-time college students.
After that, the children have the option to purchase coverage in the Tricare Young Adult Program, costing families thousands of dollars every year.
Army veteran and social worker Jeffrey Yarvis says he’s personally familiar with the issue.
“Healthcare costs can be a daunting obstacle to overcome,” he said.
“My daughter’s health care plan costs around $5,000 for just nine months. It’s a lot of money just to get primary care done.”
Nursing director Amy Mersiovsky believes this could be a much better alternative after seeing a number of young dependents skip getting health care altogether.
“It’s really hard to afford those premiums and when they can’t, families may miss things really important immunizations like flu vaccines,” she said.
“If you can’t afford to go to the doctor and get those screenings taken care of, in the long run, it may actually cost more and our military dependents might get sicker and we certainly don’t want that.”
The legislation would cost around $125 million per year, and with the children of civilians eligible to remain on their parent’s policies longer under the Affordable Care Act, Mersiovsky argues it should be the same for military dependents.
“Our military families always deserve the best we can provide for them,” she said.
“They’ve served our country so well and we need to take care of them. We all know healthy adults are more productive adults and they’ll be able to contribute more to our society.”
The bill already has 45 cosponsors, leaving lawmakers confident that it could pass as early as this year.
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