U.S. Congressman Brian Mast (FL-18)—along with Reps. Susan Davis (D-CA), Joe Wilson (R-SC), Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI) and Jacky Rosen (D-NV)—introduced bipartisan legislation in the House of Representatives to increase healthcare opportunities for disabled veterans. The Fair Access to Insurance for Retired (FAIR) Heroes Act will allow veterans who were medically discharged to choose their healthcare coverage through Medicare or TRICARE.
“I know as well as anyone the bureaucratic healthcare maze that awaits injured veterans when they get home,” Rep. Mast said. It’s complex and not always in the best interest of our vets. Right now severely injured veterans can’t even access their TRICARE benefits without first dipping into Medicare money that could be going to care for our seniors. That’s the epitome of bad government bureaucracy. This bipartisan bill will make government more efficient and ensure our seriously injured veterans have access to the health care that best fits their needs.”
Disabled veterans lose access to TRICARE, the military’s health system, if they have filed for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits. They must instead enroll in Medicare Part B, where premiums are nearly five times higher than TRICARE. Allowing disabled veterans a choice could save them up to $1,300 a year.
“Considering the sacrifices veterans make on our behalf, we owe it them to ensure they are getting the care they deserve and in the manner that is best for them,” Rep. Davis said. “The FAIR Heroes act will give our veterans greater choices in where to get the healthcare plan that works for them.”
Senators Bill Nelson (D-FL) and Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) have introduced companion legislation in the Senate.
Along with the support of the Wounded Warriors Project, the FAIR Heroes Act has been endorsed by the Air Force Association, Association of the United States Army, Association of the United States Navy, AMVETS, Army Aviation Association of America, Chief Warrant & Warrant Officers Association of the U.S. Coast Guard, Got Your 6, Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America, Military Order of the Purple Heart, Military Officers Association of America, the National Military Family Association, Paralyzed Veterans of America, Service Women’s Action Network, Veterans of Foreign Wars, and Vietnam Veterans of America.