Here’s an update to one of my more popular posts regarding Veterans and ObamaCare.
As of 2014, the Affordable Care Act (ACA), aka ObamaCare (I will use the more popular nickname for the rest of the article) is being listed as an option on the military’s Tricare website.
There’s no neon sign at the top of the Tricare page alerting you to this fact. It’s not listed as a disclaimer, waiver, footnote, or disclosure on the page. You have to read between the lines and click around to figure this out.
On Tricare’s page about ObamaCare, it states that any of the Tricare plans (plus the ‘US Family Health Plan’) meets the Obamacare ‘Minimum Essential Coverage’ standard as of 2014. In other words, if you’re enrolled in one of the Tricare plans, you ‘don’t need to take any action at this time’.
For those who feel like they need to dig deeper (and I always do), there is yet another link on the right to the ‘Tricare and the Affordable Care Act’ Fact Sheet , which states (last paragraph):
If you do not qualify or choose not to purchase a TRICARE or CHCBP premium-based program, you may find other coverage options that meet your needs at www.healthcare.gov
Tricare’s page also refers you to the VA’s webpage regarding Veterans and Obamacare. Bottom line here is that if you’re enrolled in a VA health care program, you also meet the Obamacare standard for ‘Minimum Essential Coverage’ (unless you live in Phoenix, but I digress).
So what’s the takeaway:
- Military Reservists and Retirees have a choice between enrolling in Tricare or an ObamaCare plan.
- Veterans Retired from Active Duty are technically eligible for ObamaCare but it will be more expensive than Tricare Standard or Prime in almost all cases.
- For Reservists, determining whether ObamaCare or Tricare is the best deal depends on your situation:
If you’re a ‘Gray Area’ retired reservist, Tricare Retired Reserve runs you 957 $$ per month in premiums, with an annual Out of Pocket Max (OOP) of $3,000. This brings your annual health care bill on Tricare Retired Reserve to somewhere between a minimum of $11,484 (premiums only) to a maximum of $14,484.
However, if the Gray Area Retired Reservist shopped an ObamaCare Plan like covered California, and has a ‘Bridge Career’ with annual aggregate family income greater than $95k, s/he is not eligible for subsidized ObamaCare coverage and pays full price. Per Covered Care California’s Calculator, a Bronze Plan like Anthem Blue Cross runs $698/month, with a $12,700 OOP Max for the family for the year.
Therefore your minimum cost for your family for the year (annual checkups only) is $8,376, while the max cost for the year is $21,076. Ouch!
… if you decide to ‘Go for the Gold’ (Actually Platinum):
Anthem Blue Cross (Platinum PPO) is $1157/month, max family OOP $8,000 for the year.
Minimum cost of Anthem Blue Cross Platinum family plan is $13884, while max cost for the year is $21,884 (ouch again).
Bottom Line, in most cases, Tricare will be the best deal for you and/or your family.
- You have little or no income for the year (and are eligible for subsidized ObamaCare premiums)
- You’re single and in excellent health- You’re willing to accept ‘fake health insurance‘ (aka a High Deductible Health Plan) in exchange for lower insurance premiums.
Everyone’s individual and family situations are different. Feel free to use the links above to comparison shop the Tricare plan you are eligible for versus the state or federal ObamaCare plan you are eligible for.
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