Houlahan Introduces Bipartisan Stop Copay Overpay Act to Reduce Health Care Costs for Veterans and Their Families
WASHINGTON – Today, Reps. Chrissy Houlahan (D-PA) and Guy Reschenthaler (R-PA) introduced their Stop Copay Overpay Act. This bipartisan legislation would limit copayments for outpatient visits for mental health or behavioral health under the TRICARE program. Successful passage of this bill would ensure our servicemembers, veterans, and their families receive the care they need at a reasonable cost.
“The past year has been an incredibly difficult time for so many Americans, particularly in the veteran community,” said Houlahan. “Struggles with mental health saw a dramatic increase, and it’s crucial that our veterans and their families have access to affordable mental health care. From this year, we hopefully have all learned that mental health care is health care; no distinction need be made. As an Air Force veteran and the founder and chair of the Servicewomen and Women Veterans Caucus, I’m proud to partner with fellow veteran Rep. Reschenthaler to introduce our Stop Copay Overpay Act. This bipartisan bill will ensure that our veterans under TRICARE can access affordable mental health care. After all they have done for this nation, they deserve nothing less.”
“As a Navy veteran and co-chair of the Military Mental Health Taskforce, I am proud to join with Rep. Houlahan to introduce the Stop Copay Overpay Act, which will ensure our servicemembers, retirees, and their families can access affordable mental health care,” said Reschenthaler. “By limiting the rising costs of copayments for mental health care under TRICARE, this bipartisan legislation will ensure our brave military men and women receive the care they deserve.”
“The importance of mental health care is indisputable, particularly for military families who face unique challenges as their servicemembers support and defend our Nation,” said Lt. Gen. Dana Atkins, USAF (Ret), MOAA President and CEO. “Yet, military health system reforms have meant steep TRICARE copay increases for military families seeking mental health care. We thank Congresswoman Houlahan and Congressman Reschenthaler for introducing this bill that would reduce TRICARE copays for mental health visits and address a key barrier to accessing care.”
“Cost should never be a barrier to accessing the care you need, but for too many military families, high copays for mental and behavioral health care are an insurmountable obstacle,” said Besa Pinchotti, Executive Director and CEO of the National Military Family Association. “Military service comes with many challenges for both the service member and the family, but access to affordable mental and behavioral health care shouldn't be one of them. We thank Representatives Houlahan and Reschenthaler for introducing legislation to reduce TRICARE copays for mental health care and ensure military families can get the care they need.”
Over 9 million people utilize TRICARE to provide for their routine care and other health needs. This includes treatment for improving mental health through individual and family therapy, substance abuse treatment, eating disorder treatment and other related services, including psychological testing and behavior analysis.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, the importance of ensuring servicemembers and their families had access to mental and behavioral health was certainly highlighted as individuals were restricted to their homes, often isolated from family, friends, and loved ones. High copays can deter individuals, especially retirees on a fixed income, from seeking or continuing mental or behavioral health care. In 2018, such copays as much as doubled when mental health care was classified as specialty care.
Full text of the Stop Copay Overpay Act can be found here.
Houlahan is an Air Force veteran, an engineer, a serial entrepreneur, an educator and a nonprofit leader. She represents Pennsylvania’s 6th Congressional District, which encompasses Chester County and southern Berks County. She serves on the House Armed Services Committee, the House Foreign Affairs Committee and the House Small Business Committee.