What Do Military Families Need to Know About the Affordable Care Act?

The Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, includes a requirement for most Americans to carry health insurance. This requirement is often referred to as “the individual mandate.” 

Beginning in 2014, the Affordable Care Act requires individuals to maintain a minimum level of health insurance, known as “minimum essential coverage” (MEC), for themselves and their dependents. Individuals who fail to have MEC may be required to pay a penalty (called a “shared responsibility payment”) when they file their tax returns.

If you are a service member, retiree, family member, or survivor covered by TRICARE, you have MEC. There is no need to purchase additional health insurance. If you are using any of the following health plan options, you have the coverage required by the Affordable Care Act:

  • TRICARE Prime
  • TRICARE Prime Remote
  • TRICARE Prime Overseas
  • TRICARE Prime Remote Overseas
  • TRICARE Standard and Extra
  • TRICARE Standard Overseas
  • TRICARE For Life
  • US FamilyHealth Plan
    • Martin’s Point Health Care
    • Brighton Marine Health Center
    • Saint Vincent Catholic Medical Centers of New York
    • Johns Hopkins Medicine
    • Christus Health

You also meet the coverage requirement if you purchase one of the following plans. Unlike the TRICARE plans listed above, these plans require you to pay a monthly premium to obtain coverage. If you have purchased one of the plans listed below and are paying the monthly premium, you have MEC:

  • TRICARE Reserve Select
  • TRICARE Retired Reserve
  • TRICARE Young Adult

Finally, you have MEC if you have TRICARE through either of these transitional health plans after you leave military service:

  • Transitional Assistance Management Program (TAMP): premium free, 180 days
  • Continued Health Care Benefit Program (CHCBP): if purchased, 18-36 months

Keep your DEERS information up to date. The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) will use information from the Defense Enrollment Eligibility Reporting System (DEERS) to verify your TRICARE coverage. It is important for sponsors to ensure that all of their dependents’ social security numbers are accurate in DEERS. You can do this by contacting the DEERS office online or at 1.800.538.9552.

For additional information on TRICARE and the Affordable Care Act, please visit the TRICARE website.

Additional Articles on ACA:

What Transitioning Service Members Need to Know About the Affordable Care Act

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