A bipartisan House bill would waive premiums and co-payments for National Guard and Reserve servicemembers under the TRICARE Dental Program, with the goal of improving military readiness by reducing the number of nondeployable servicemembers.
Reserve component dependents would remain eligible to purchase premium-based TRICARE Dental Program (TDP) coverage. DoD-subsidized dental coverage would remain a unique benefit for active duty family members.
Reps. Andy Kim (D-N.J.) and Trent Kelly (R-Miss.) introduced the Dental Care for Our Troops Act (H.R. 8113) on June 16. The legislation is also part of the larger Healthcare for Our Troops Act of 2021 (H.R. 3512), which would grant reserve component members – more than 100,000 of whom do not have private health insurance – no-cost access to TRICARE Reserve Select. MOAA endorses both pieces of legislation as standalone bills, as well as potential additions to the FY 2023 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), now being assembled in both chambers.
“Without affordable dental coverage, National Guard and Reserve members face barriers to maintaining comprehensive health which is a prerequisite to readiness,” said Lt. Gen. Dana Atkins, USAF (Ret), MOAA president and CEO. “MOAA thanks Congressman Andy Kim and Congressman Trent Kelly for introducing this bill that would bring the reserve component dental benefit on par with active duty and facilitate access to care. Our nation counts on reserve component members to respond when our nation needs them – we must support them with affordable dental care to ensure their readiness.”
[RELATED: MOAA’s 2021-22 TRICARE Guide]
A study of reserve component servicemembers who served during Operation Enduring Freedom put their rates of dental health issues twice as high as their active duty compatriots. Kelly called the no-cost TRICARE option “key to military readiness,” saying it was the duty of Congress “to ensure [Guard and Reserve] members have access to preventative and continuous dental care – just as we do for active duty military personnel.”
The National Guard Association of the United States and Reserve Organization of America (ROA) also endorsed the legislation.
[RELATED: Here Are Your New TRICARE Dental Premiums]
Take action today: Ask your House member to support H.R. 8113 to help ensure the ongoing readiness of the reserve component.
For more about MOAA’s ongoing advocacy efforts, visit MOAA’s Advocacy News page.
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