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Senators seek extended grace period for retirees’ lost Tricare

Two senators have introduced legislation to extend the reinstatement period for tens of thousands of military retirees who have lost their health care coverage because they didn’t set up their payments for the new enrollment fee.

By law, in order to continue coverage under Tricare Select, retiree sponsors were required to start paying new monthly enrollment fees as of Jan. 1, and they were required to set up a payment plan with their Tricare contractor by the end of 2020 by allotment, bank account or credit card. If they didn’t take this action, their coverage was dropped as of Jan. 1, and some may not realize it until they seek medical care and a claim is denied.

The proposal introduced Tuesday by Sen. Steve Daines, R-Mont., and Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W. Va., would extend the grace period from June to the end of 2021 to allow retirees to reinstate their coverage. Defense Health Agency officials had previously extended the grace period to six months, but military advocates have asked for one year’s grace period.

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