Bipartisan Bill Would Reduce TRICARE Mental Health Copays

Bipartisan Bill Would Reduce TRICARE Mental Health Copays
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A bipartisan bill would reduce military family cost sharing for outpatient mental health visits, one of MOAA’s top priorities since TRICARE copay increases went into effect Jan. 1, 2018.

 

MOAA supports the Stop Copay Overpay Act, introduced by Air Force veteran Rep. Chrissy Houlahan (D-Pa.) and Navy veteran Rep. Guy Reschenthaler (R-Pa.), because military families should have access to mental health care at a reasonable cost.

 

The bill would cap TRICARE mental health copays at the level paid for primary care visits. TRICARE currently categorizes mental health care as specialty care, which has higher out-of-pocket costs.

 

The bill would reduce these mental health appointment copays for Group A beneficiaries (those whose sponsor entered service before Jan. 1, 2018) significantly:

  • TRICARE Select, active duty family members: $22 under the bill, down from $34 (Note: active duty family members on TRICARE Prime do not pay copays, and would not do so under the proposal).
  • TRICARE Select, retirees and family members; medical retirees, family members, and survivors: $30, down from $46.
  • TRICARE Prime, retirees and family members; medical retirees, family members, and survivors: $21 under the bill, down from $31.

 

[RELATED: MOAA Continues Its Fight to Improve Health Care for Guard and Reserve Members]

 

“The importance of mental health care is indisputable, particularly for military families who face unique challenges as their servicemembers support and defend our Nation,” said Lt. Gen. Dana T. Atkins, USAF (Ret), MOAA president and CEO. “Yet, military health system reforms have meant steep TRICARE copay increases for military families seeking mental health care. We thank Congresswoman Houlahan and Congressman Reschenthaler for introducing this bill that would reduce TRICARE copays for mental health visits and address a key barrier to accessing care.”

 

Houlahan explained why this legislation is so important in press releases accompanying the introduction of the Stop Copay Overpay Act.

 

“The past year has been an incredibly difficult time for so many Americans, particularly in the veteran community,” she said. “Struggles with mental health saw a dramatic increase, and it’s crucial that our veterans and their families have access to affordable mental health care.”

 

Reschenthaler, a co-chair of the Military Mental Health Taskforce, said he was “proud to join with Rep. Houlahan to introduce the Stop Copay Overpay Act, which will ensure our servicemembers, retirees, and their families can access affordable mental health care.”

 

MOAA appreciates these efforts to ensure mental health care is affordable for military families. Have you faced barriers accessing mental health care? Please tell us at legis@moaa.org.

 

Support MOAA’s NDAA Efforts

You can make your voice heard on these MOAA priorities by asking your lawmakers to co-sponsor bills addressing these issues in the current legislative session. The more support these bills have, the better the chance of their inclusion in the final NDAA:

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About the Author

Karen Ruedisueli
Karen Ruedisueli

Ruedisueli is MOAA’s Director of Government Relations for Health Affairs and also serves as co-chair of The Military Coalition’s (TMC) Health Care Committee. She spent six years with the National Military Family Association, advocating for families of the uniformed services with a focus on health care and military caregivers.