One of the first provisions of the Affordable Care Act or Obamacare that went into effect was the provision that children could stay on their parents’ insurance plans until they turned 26. In fact, it was this provision that allowed Kendall Brown—of viral Obamacare open-letter fame—to remain covered by insurance when she needed life-saving surgery.
However, at a time when the government needs to slim down budgets because of the budget sequester, the Department of Defense has denied users of the military’s health insurance TRICARE this benefit. Their cut-off is age 21, or 23 if the dependent is a full-time student. According to their official statement via Military.com, TRICARE’s age limits “are set by statute, so separate legislation would be required to change them.”
TRICARE recipients are able to purchase plans specifically for their young adult children, but some veterans are crying foul, according to Fox News. Their story quotes Air Force veteran Eddie Grooms saying it would “be nice if they leveled with everybody” about the way taxpayer-subsidized TRICARE differs from other insurance plans under Obamacare.
This isn’t the only cost-savings shortcut that might hit TRICARE users. According to Stars and Stripes, the military is also “weighing an option to save money by closing Tricare customer service centers at stateside military treatment facilities,” and instead move to an online and phone-based system that is sure to disappoint.
Both the exception for TRICARE with respect to dependent coverage and the potential shuttering of walk-in clinics are a result of the mandatory cuts implemented by the budget sequester and an almost fanatical desire to cut costs regardless of who amongst the citizenry is affected.
A bill was recently submitted in the House by New Mexico Democrat Heinrich Martin, which would have specifically changed the statute for TRICARE, but it was sent to committee and no action was ever taken.