January 18, 2019

Manchin Introduces Bipartisan Tricare Reserve Improvement Act

Washington, D.C. –U.S. Senators Joe Manchin (D-WV) and Steve Daines (R-MT) introduced the Tricare Reserve Improvement Act, which extends eligibility to all National Guardsmen and Reservists, regardless of their civilian occupation. Under current law federal employees who serve in the National Guard or Armed Forces Reserve are prohibited from participating in Tricare Reserve Select (TRS).  This disparity creates a financial incentive for transitioning service members to take their skillset and credentials away from the federal government, and penalizes those who choose to serve their country in a civilian capacity. It also limits the effectiveness of TRS as a recruiting tool within the public sector.

“I am proud to introduce this bipartisan bill that will make sure that the brave men and women serving in the National Guard and Armed Forces Reserve get the healthcare they deserve. As a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, I have spent my career fighting to make sure Veterans can get the care they have earned. In West Virginia, we believe in taking care of those who serve us, including those who serve in the reserve component as federal employees. I look forward to working to pass this commonsense legislation,” said Senator Manchin.

“Our National Guardsmen deserve affordable healthcare options. Senseless laws shouldn’t stand in the way of that. It’s time we provide our Guardsmen and Reservists with the care they need and this bill does just that,” said Senator Daines.

Tricare Reserve Select (TRS) is a premium-based health insurance plan for National Guard and Armed Forces Reserve service members that provides a comparable level of care as their active duty counterparts, at an affordable cost.  The military services leverage TRS as an incentive to recruit new service members, as well as retain others who are leaving active duty with valuable, high-demand skillsets—such as aircraft maintenance.  These service members are top candidates for the National Guard’s dual-status technician program, which allows an individual to continue serving an on a part-time basis, and help maintain military aircraft as a federal civilian.

The bill is also cosponsored by U.S. Senators Jacky Rosen (D-NV), Mike Crapo (R-ID), John Hoeven (R-ND), Doug Jones (D-AL), John Boozeman (R-AR), Jon Tester (D-MT), Jerry Moran (R-KS), and Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV).