TRICARE May Be Extended to Cover Dependents Until 26

tricare extend dependents

TRICARE Extension Possible for Dependents

On June 11th, House Representative Elaine Luria (D-VA) introduced H.R. 7176, the Health Care Fairness for Military Families Act, which would improve dependent coverage under the TRICARE Young Adult Program. If passed, this amendment would allow TRICARE dependents to remain on their parents’ insurance policy until the age of 26 without a premium increase.

“The Affordable Care Act allows young adults to stay on their parents’ health plans until age 26, however, military families do not receive this same benefit under TRICARE.,” said Congresswoman Luria in a statement on her website. “During this public health emergency, it is more important than ever to provide our servicemembers and their families with affordable and accessible health care.”

The Congresswoman’s legislation would update TRICARE insurance policies and bring them closer to the dependent eligibility available through private insurance plans that are regulated by the Affordable Care Act (ACA). In the ACA, children up to age 26 can remain on their parents’ policies without the dependent incurring any costs. The legislation is expected to be enacted retroactively and extend back to January 1, 2020.

Under the current system, TRICARE dependents are only allowed to stay on their parents’ policy until the age of 21, unless the dependent is enrolled full-time in higher education. In which case the dependent can remain on the policy until they are 23 years old or finish school, whichever comes first.

The Health Care Fairness for Military Families Act is currently under review by the House Committee on Armed Services. Based on the published hearings on the committee’s website, the legislation has yet to be scheduled for discussion. There is also no estimate from the Congressional Budget Office of the expected impacts this legislation may have on defense spending.

(Image courtesy of kenishirotie via


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Robert Haynes is a retired Army infantryman who has a squad of kids and is married to an active duty Soldier. He is a veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom, who spent his last few years in the Army as a Drill Sergeant. He is now a full-time dad, freelance writer, and out-of-work comedian.