March 27, 2003 -- Today Rep. Mike Capuano (D-MA) introduced the "Mobilized Reserve Family Health Care Act of 2003".
"This legislation is one small way that we can help make the lives of reservists and their families a little easier. The bill allows families to retain their private health insurance when the reservist is called up to active duty for an extended period of time. This means that families won't be faced with a possible disruption in health care or complications associated with switching providers," stated Congressman Capuano.
Employers are not legally required to provide health insurance coverage for an employee and his or her family once that employee is called to active duty. Often, the family must switch to TRICARE, the military's health insurance plan, in order to continue receiving health benefits. This can be burdensome since many hospitals and doctors outside the military health system do not participate in TRICARE. In addition, individuals with pre-existing conditions face an uncertain future when it's time to return to their employer sponsored health care plan once active duty has ended.
Congressman Capuano's legislation gives families the option of continuing with their existing health insurance coverage rather than making the switch to TRICARE. Under this legislation, families would continue paying for their private health insurance, but all costs would be fully refunded through a combination of tax credits and itemized tax deductions.
"Over 215,000 members of the guard and reserve are currently mobilized, many on assignments lasting for more than a year. This legislation is one small way that we can say 'thank you' to them and their families," stated Congressman Capuano.
The legislation has bipartisan support and was referred to the Committee on Ways and Means.
Contact: Alison M. Mills (617) 621-6208