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Legislation seeks to provide premium-free healthcare for National Guard, Reserve members

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U.S. Sens. Susan Collins (R-ME) and Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) recently introduced the Healthcare for Our Troops Act, which seeks to provide premium-free medical insurance coverage for National Guard and Reserve members.

The legislation would provide premium-free, zero cost-sharing medical coverage for Selected Reserve members eligible for TRICARE Reserve Select (TRS) and address financial barriers to seeking mental health care.

“Maine Guard members have told me that there is a need to extend TRICARE Reserves Select at no cost to the Guard members who do not currently qualify for premium-free TRICARE,” Collins said. “This is of utmost importance to servicemembers whose duty status changes, such as the Maine Guard members who deployed to Poland in May.”

Collins said ensuring all troops have access to health care is not just the right thing to do, but it enhances military readiness.

In addition to providing health insurance, the legislation would require a study regarding eliminating annual physicals during drills and replacing them with forms to be completed by civilian providers to assess medical readiness.

“Our National Guard and Reserve members make sacrifices every day to keep us safe, and yet too many of them struggle to access affordable health care,” Baldwin said. “By providing these benefits, our service members will lead healthier lives, improve their readiness for deployment and devote more time to valuable training. Providing all service members with the health coverage they deserve is not only an investment in our national security, it is also the right thing to do.”

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