Hoeven Working to Expand TRICARE Eligibility to National Guard & Reservists, Regardless of Civilian Occupation

Senator Helped Introduce Bipartisan Bill to Remove Benefit Disparity for Guard and Reserve Members Employed by Federal Government

WASHINGTON – Senator John Hoeven today announced that he is an original cosponsor of bipartisan legislation to extend eligibility for the TRICARE Reserve Select (TRS) program to all National Guardsmen and Reservists, regardless of their civilian occupation. Under current law, federal employees who serve in the National Guard or Armed Forces Reserve are prohibited from participating in TRS. This prohibition creates a financial incentive for transitioning service members to take their skillset and credentials away from the federal government, reduces the effectiveness of TRS as a recruiting tool within the public sector and penalizes those who choose to serve their country in a civilian capacity. The Tricare Reserve Improvement Act, which Hoeven helped introduce with Senators Steve Daines (R-Mont.) and Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), would correct this disparity.

“Wherever and whenever they are called to serve, our North Dakota National Guard members do a tremendous job representing our state,” Hoeven said. “This Congress, I am again cosponsoring legislation that would increase health care options for National Guard or Reserve service members who are also federal employees, by ensuring they also have access to the TRICARE Reserve Select program as an option for their health care coverage. Additional choices will help them pick the right health care coverage for them and their families.”

TRS is a health insurance plan for National Guard and Armed Forces Reserve service members that provides a comparable level of care as their active duty counterparts at an affordable cost. The military services leverage TRS as an incentive to recruit new service members, as well as retain others who are leaving active duty with valuable, high-demand skillsets – such as aircraft maintenance. These service members are top candidates for the National Guard’s dual-status technician program, which allows an individual to continue serving on a part-time basis, and help maintain military aircraft as a federal civilian.