College-age military dependents could be forced to pay a lot more for health care under proposed changes to Tricare. (May 5, 2011 / WRDW-TV)
News 12 at 6 o'clock / Friday, May 6, 2011
AUGUSTA, Ga. -- A defense department plan could save some serious money on health care. But it could end up driving some young adults and their money away from the plan.
It's a way to save more than $3 billion over the next five years in healthcare costs. It would mean cutting civilian TriCare jobs and charging some families more.
Many military families have their health care paid for, but now some of their college age kids are learning their benefits are getting more expensive.
No matter what you do for a living civilian parents can now keep young adults up to 26 years old on their health plans. It's part of the healthcare reform bill passed last year.
"I've never had a problem until my birthday, February 19," said Kiausha Burch.
That's when Burch turned 23 years old -- the deadline for military dependent college students to be on their parents' health care plan. She learned she'd likely be paying hundreds more than her civilian friends.
Adds Burch: "I feel like kids of military parents are being ignored."
But military parents don't pay for TriCare, the military's health insurance plan. So when Kiausha turned 23 years old, she was in for a surprise.
"I did not find out until the fourth or fifth visit to my doctor's office that I had to pay, because I showed up and they said 'Oh, you owe about 400 dollars,'" she said.
Another healthcare bill addressing TriCare allowed young adults like Kiausha to pay into another plan for close to $200 dollars a month. That's money she doesn't have.
"I don't want to walk around without health insurance. I feel vulnerable, everytime I have a cough, I'm like, 'I hope i don't have to go to the doctor.'"