Land Mines to avoid when leaving an HSA

[2014 Update: According to TriCare’s website, Veterans are eligible for ObamaCare if they choose not to enroll/pay-in to Tricare.  See updated post on Veterans and ObamaCare for more info].

This is a follow-up to my original post which noted the fact that Retired Veterans (and Feds) are ineligible for Obamacare.   Too bad, because in some financial circumstances, ObamaCare may provide better coverage per dollar than TriCare or FEHB.

There’s some horrible mis-information about the Affordable Care Act (ObamaCare) on the internet(s).

I’ve even seen a GovExec article telling Feds that they can opt out of FEHB and go on an ObamaCare exchange (they can’t – see the application form  for ObamaCare).  

In short, I would not trust any ObamaCare info posted on a webpage that does not end with .mil or .gov. 

Here’s a summary of TriCare/ObamaCare mis-information that I’d like to squash right now:

Myth: If I’m presently enrolled in TriCare, I can go on ObamaCare instead.
Fact: Nope.  TriCare meets the ‘Minimum Essential Coverage‘ requirement under ObamaCare. If you’re presently enrolled in ANY TriCare program, you’re not eligible for ObamaCare.  Note that as of 2014 you can choose not to enroll in TriCare and choose ObamaCare instead.

Myth: Since ObamaCare declares that children should be covered under health plans until age 26, my son/daughter is now covered under TriCare until age 26.
Fact: TriCare is covered under a different set of laws and regulations.  TriCare does not get changed unless Congress changes TriCare through a new law.
Since 2010 there has been a proposal in Congress to restore parity with regards to 26-year old dependents, but at the time of this writing the bill is stalled.  You can check the proposal’s status here.

Note that there are some other minutiae discrepancies between ObamaCare and TriCare regarding Mental Health, Maternity coverage, Breast Pumps, and Obesity etc.  Read a bit more here (caution: Military Times Link).  

Finally, here’s something trustworthy- An official press release from an Air Force medical command regarding active and retired military ineligibility for ObamaCare:

[Note: as of July 2014, the above link is deceptive and does not tell the whole story, that Veterans CAN opt out of TriCare and choose ObamaCare instead]

Beneficiaries who receive benefits under any TRICARE program meet the minimum essential coverage under the Affordable Care Act. This includes: TRICARE Prime, Prime Remote and Standard; TRICARE Reserve Select , TRICARE Young Adult, TRICARE Retired Reserve, the Continued Health Care Benefit Program, Veterans Health Care Program, VA Civilian Health and Medical Program and Spina Bifida Health Care Benefits Program. 

However, in order to for these TRICARE programs to qualify as minimum essential coverage, eligible members must be enrolled and be in good standing.

There are two groups of TRICARE beneficiaries who do not meet the minimum essential coverage requirement – those getting care for line-of-duty only related conditions and direct care only beneficiaries.

Beneficiaries and retirees not enrolled in any of these health care coverage plans, employer based plans, or Medicare must seek coverage through the Health Insurance Marketplace or visit the VA health care website at for coverage options.

At the beginning of the year, TRICARE beneficiaries will receive a notification letter from the Department of Defense detailing the sponsor and dependents who had minimum essential coverage during the previous year. This information is also sent to the Internal Revenue Service and can be used when filing taxes.

GubMints’ Bottom Line:

If you been granted VA coverage, then VA is your primary health coverage.  You’re ineligible for ObamaCare.

If you’re enrolled in TriCare (ANY TriCare program), then TriCare covers any and all medical conditions not covered by VA.  As an enrollee in TriCare, you’re not eligible for ObamaCare. 
It’s up to you to choose whether or not to cover your dependents under TriCare.    Your dependents MAY be eligible for ObamaCare if you choose not to enroll them in your TriCare coverage.  Contact your CPA or legal counsel prior to using this tactic.

In short, as retired military enrolled in VA or TriCare, ObamaCare is not an option for your individual health care coverage.  [Note (2014 update) that you can choose to opt-out of TriCare (dis-enroll) and enroll in ObamaCare instead]

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One thought on “ObamaCare – Veterans (Still) Need Not Apply (!)

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