Part of the benefits available to some Reservists is the ability to receive Tricare Reserve Select Medical coverage. Some members of the Reserve and National Guard and their respective families can enroll in the new plan. These new services became available in April 2005, and are designed to help fill the gaps and offer coverage for those called up for Active Duty Service since September 11th, 2001.
To be able to qualify for TRS coverage, Reserve and National Guard Members must have been on active duty for ninety days or more in an active contingency operation that started after 9/11. A Servicemember must have also a service agreement in place with their component to continue service in their respective Selected reserve. The amount of the monthly premium for TRS is seventy-five dollars for members, and two hundred thirty three dollars a month for families and members. More than three thousand Reserve and National Guard families and Servicemembers are currently enrolled, with an additional eight thousand five hundred members in the process of enrolling in TRS.
The Department of Defense mailed a letter to eligible service members last spring regarding their eligibility, and the dates in which they have to respond. An advantage of Tricare Reserve Select is ability to pay less money out of pocket for medical care. Qualified TRS members can manage their own health care, and there is no mandatory or assigned care manager.
In 2005 Congress wanted to help jump the gaps between private medical coverage and coverage that active duty members of the Military enjoyed. Members of the National Guard and Reserves were often stuck in between without health coverage before during and after being mobilized for service to their county. Tricare Reserve Select was created as part of the National Defense Authorization, a 2005 Act. It is a premium-based system designed to assist members of the National Guard and Reserve to access the same basic benefits offered under regular Tricare medical coverage.
Eventually nearly four hundred thousand eligible Servicemembers will be able to partake if they so choose. Service member will be able to access one year of health coverage for every year of Reserve or Guard Service, or one year for every separate ninety day service period, as appropriate. Part of the reasoning behind the Tricare Reserve Select program is to help make service in the National Guard and Reserve more attractive, by providing needed health care coverage that members of the Select Reserves and Regular Reserves can access.