GI Bill Reform Passes Congress
House and Senate passed major reform of the Post 9/11 GI Bill program (H.R. 3218). Major provisions in the bill include:
• Eliminating the 15 year time limit for using education benefits;
• Abolishing exemption for GI Bill credit for Reserve Component members called to active duty under specified circumstances;
• Providing beneficiaries will not have to pay back tuition that attend schools that close or lose accreditation; and
• Awarding benefits to Purple Heart recipients without 36 month of active duty requirement.
FRA supported the enactment of the Post 9/11 GI bill in 2008 and welcomes the improvements contained in this bill. The Post 9/11 GI Bill is a tremendous benefit for service members who qualify for the program and has significantly improved the morale of those currently serving. The bill now goes to President Trump to be signed into law.
TRICARE Expanding Mental Health and Substance Abuse Treatment
TRICARE has recently announced that it is expanding mental health and substance use disorders. Also adding intensive outpatient coverage and expanding options for opioid treatment. In addition to other improvements, this expansion improves access to care and increases opportunities for mental health and Substance Use Disorder (SUD) treatment. It also makes it easier for beneficiaries to access the right level of care for their health and wellness needs.
TRICARE reduced limitations for receiving mental health and SUD services. There are no limits for the number of times beneficiaries can get SUD treatment, smoking cessation counseling and outpatient treatment per week. In addition, TRICARE removed the requirement for authorization after the eighth outpatient mental health or SUD visit. Since October 2016, non-active duty dependent beneficiaries, retirees, family members and survivors began paying generally lower copayments and cost-shares for mental health and SUD care. One example is the cost per each mental health and SUD outpatient office-based visit, now reduced from $25 to $12. For more information on the updated services and expanding treatment options for mental health and SUD, click here.
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