Military retirees’ health coverage guaranteed under bipartisan Daines bill

America’s military retirees would not lose their healthcare as a result of new policy changes that took effect on Jan. 1 under legislation offered by U.S. Sen. Steve Daines (R-MT).

“Our bipartisan bill will help ensure we take care of our veterans and continue to provide quality healthcare for their service to this nation,” Sen. Daines said. “I’ll always support and protect our veterans who have served our nation and defended our freedom.”

Sen. Daines on Feb. 2 sponsored the TRICARE Retiree Protection Act, S. 156, with cosponsor U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) to extend the grace period from 180 days to 12 months to enroll in a payment plan for retired service members with 20 or more years of service and their families.

“This extension helps ensure no retired service member is left without healthcare coverage, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Sen. Manchin.

Currently, TRICARE Select members have 180 days to establish a payment plan for the enrollment fees established on Jan. 1. While the fees could not be delayed further, S. 156 seeks to guarantee that retired service members have a full year to secure enrollment in the healthcare coverage during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, according to a bill summary provided by Sen. Daines’ office.

The bill has been referred to the U.S. Senate Armed Services Committee for consideration.