Kelly, Senate Colleagues Continue Work to Ensure Children of Servicemembers Stay on TRICARE Until Age 26

Today, Arizona Senator Mark Kelly reintroduced the Health Care Fairness for Military Families Act, bipartisan legislation that would allow young adults to stay on their parents’ TRICARE plan until age 26 without a premium increase. Senators Jon Tester (D-MT), Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), and Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) also back the legislation. U.S. Representatives Pat Ryan (D-NY-18) and Rep. Michael Waltz (R-FL-6) introduced a companion bill in the U.S. House.

“I will always work to ensure that our service members and military families have access to the quality health care they have earned. TRICARE is a lifeline for so many kids and families. Our bipartisan legislation allows children of servicemembers to have the same health care benefits as anyone else by being able to stay on their parents’ TRICARE until age 26,” said Senator Kelly, a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee. 

“Under current law, the majority of military dependents are not able to remain on their parents’ insurance policy beyond age 21; however, non-military dependents are able to remain on their parents’ insurance until age 26. It makes no sense that individuals who’ve grown up in a military household aren’t afforded the same benefits as their civilian counterparts,” said Senator Murkowski. “Many in the 21-26-year-old population are already struggling to make ends meet, particularly as the nation grapples with inflation—this inequity only adds unnecessary additional financial strain. Our bill will allow military dependents to stay on their parent’s insurance plan until they are 26 without a premium increase. It’s simply the right thing to do.”

“Ensuring our nation’s servicemembers and their families have access to the same affordable health care as folks with private insurance is a no-brainer,” said Senator Tester. “The fact is that children of servicemembers feel the unique impacts of their parents’ military careers and need the same access to care as their civilian peers. Our bipartisan bill will ensure steady coverage for these young adults so they don’t lose a day’s sleep over access to the critical health care they need and deserve.” 

“All three of my brothers served in the military, and I know the incredible sacrifices servicemembers and their families make to keep our country safe,” said Senator Warren. “It is our job to ensure military families have access to good, affordable health care, and that includes the children of servicemembers up to the age of 26.”

TRICARE is a Department of Defense health insurance program that serves 9.6 million active duty and retired servicemembers, and their families. Kelly’s legislation would bring TRICARE plans in line with private insurance plans, saving some military families hundreds of dollars a month in costly premiums. Under the Affordable Care Act (ACA), children up to age 26 can remain on their parents’ health insurance plans at no additional out-of-pocket cost to the dependent.

Under current law, TRICARE dependents can stay on their parents’ policy until age 21, unless dependents meet specific requirements that would extend coverage only until age 23 or out of school. Without this coverage military dependents are left on unequal footing compared to their civilian counterparts who can stay on a parent’s plan until age 26. 

Kelly’s legislation is supported by the Air Force Sergeants Association; Army Aviation Association of America; Association of Military Surgeons of the United States; Blinded Veterans of America; Commissioned Officers Association of the U.S. Public Health Service, Inc.; Enlisted Association of the National Guard of the United States; Fleet Reserve Association; Gold Star Wives of America; Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA); Jewish War Veterans of the United States of America; Marine Corps League; Marine Corps Reserve Association; Military Chaplains Association of the United States of America; National Military Family Association; Non Commissioned Officers Association of the USA; Reserve Organization of America; Service Women’s Action Network; Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors; United States Army Warrant Officers Association; USCG Chief Petty Officers Association; Veterans of Foreign Wars; VetsFirst United Spinal Association; and Vietnam Veterans of America.

For the full bill text, click HERE.