Staff Voices - TRICARE and the Affordable Care Act

Staff Voices - TRICARE and the Affordable Care Act

I have been reflecting lately on the five years that have passed since I separated from the Air Force.  Besides working at the Center for Deployment Psychology, one source of pride has been my continued work with Service members and their families by being a TRICARE provider. I am a Tricare Standard Certified Provider and have had the opportunity to work with some amazing people over the years. In the coming months we will have more blog entries about being a TRICARE provider and how TRICARE works including interviews with TRICARE officials and providers.

The recent Supreme Court decision regarding the Affordable Care Act had me wondering about its impact on TRICARE. The following note was sent out by TRICARE Communications this week.

"The June Supreme Court decision upholding the constitutionality of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) has no impact on TRICARE health benefits for service members, military retirees and their families. TRICARE’s commitment to providing the best possible health care to its more than 9.7 million beneficiaries remains unchanged. TRICARE is authorized by independent statutes, and remains under sole authority of the Defense Department and the Secretary of Defense.

TRICARE benefits meet or exceed the minimum requirements provided in the ACA for creditable coverage, including coverage for pre-existing conditions and serious illnesses, preventive care services with no cost shares, reasonable out-of-pocket costs with no or low deductibles and copayments, and no annual or lifetime caps on coverage. For more information about TRICARE’s covered clinical preventive services, go to

Further, Congress also passed the TRICARE Affirmation Act, signed into law in April 2010. This law explicitly states that Department of Defense health coverage, including TRICARE, qualifies as "minimum essential coverage" under the ACA.

Finally, TRICARE Young Adult (TYA) extends TRICARE coverage to the children of beneficiaries up to age 26. Congress authorized this program in the 2011 National Defense Authorization Act, which became law in January 2011. TYA, implemented in April 2011, gives eligible uniformed services dependents under 26 who are unmarried and not eligible for employer-sponsored health care coverage the option to purchase TRICARE coverage. As of May 31, 2012, more than 17,000 beneficiaries are enrolled in TYA. For more information about TYA and how to purchase it, go to

To read more about TRICARE and the ACA, visit"