Smith Supports More Health Care Choice for Veterans, Bill Passes

Smith Supports More Health Care Choice for Veterans, Bill Passes
Smith supports greater Health Care Choices for Veterans on Tuesday afternoon.

WASHINGTON D.C. – Tuesday was a successful day for Congressman Adrian Smith, who led floor debate in the House of Representatives in support of the Veterans TRICARE Choice Act of 2016. The House passed the bill later that afternoon to give veterans more choices in their health care coverage.

Smith’s remarks:

I rise today in support of H.R. 5458, the Veterans TRICARE Choice Act of 2016.

This legislation, introduced by my colleague Chris Stewart of Utah, addresses a gap in current law which prevents veterans and their families with TRICARE coverage who also choose to participate in a high deductible health plan from utilizing a health savings account, or HSA.

 While veterans or their family members who participate in TRICARE may also have private health insurance coverage, including high deductible plans, they are prohibited from contributing to an HSA affiliated with the high deductible plan. 

In order to contribute to an HSA under current law, an individual must permanently renounce their TRICARE eligibility because no mechanism to allow re-enrollment currently exists.

H.R. 5458 addresses this issue by allowing certain TRICARE-eligible individuals to voluntarily pause their TRICARE coverage for a period of time in which they choose to contribute to an HSA.  The bill also creates special enrollment periods should these individuals choose to re-enroll in TRICARE at a later date.

Our veterans devoted their lives to defending our freedoms.  We should not allow arbitrary bureaucratic obstacles to stop them from making the best health care coverage choices for themselves and their families. 

This bill creates a mechanism to improve veterans’ health coverage options and provides them greater opportunities to save toward their own health care needs.

It also ensures patients can be more engaged in their own care while eliminating the inconsistency in our tax code.

I applaud the gentleman from Utah, Mr. Stewart, for bringing us this good idea today.  I urge support, and I reserve the balance of my time.


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