Protections Available for Mobilized ReservistsAs our nation defends itself and its citizens many military families are facing separation from loved ones and significant changes in their daily routines. The Patient Advocate Foundation would like to commend each member of our Armed Forces for your courage and offer our thanks to you for the sacrifices that you are making on behalf of all Americans.
As US Reserve troops begin to be mobilized issues pertaining to health care coverage and financial relief become priority for families nationwide. In anticipation of these needs PAF is pleased to share the following information regarding health coverage provisions and financial protections for mobilized reserve troops.
Important health care protections are contained within the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act of 1994 (USERRA). Reserve members who become activated, for 30 days or more, may elect to continue their health care coverage, which had been provided by a civilian employer, for up to 18 months. The service member may decide to disenroll from their employer?s health plan and have coverage solely through Tricare. If they make this choice then they will have the right to reenroll immediately upon their return with no waiting period and no pre-existing exclusion period, with the exception of disabilities determined by the Veterans Administration to be service-connections. Section 4317 of USERRA also provides for health benefit continuation for people who are absent from civilian positions in order to serve in the military, even when the employers are not required to offer COBRA coverage (employers with fewer than 20 employees are exempt from the COBRA regulation). While members may be required to pay health plan premiums out of pocket with no contribution from the employer, this protection will offer families of activated reserve members to continue with their current health plan thereby ensuring access to current of care providers and uninterrupted completion of treatment protocols which may already be in progress. To learn more about this Act or to read it in its entirety, see the Employment Guide at the US Department of Labor website.
The Soldiers and Sailors Relief Act addresses financial protections for military members. One particular provision that is of extreme importance to a reserve family is reduction in interest. If a reserve member becomes activated and carries existing debt in the form of credit cards, car notes or mortgage loans, the member, or their designated representative, can contact the individual creditor, notify them of their activation status and request protection under the Soldiers and Sailors Relief Act. This request will not eliminate the debt, rather it will lighten the monthly payment burden by reducing or deferring interest payments. You may learn more by visiting
As our nation looks to our military for protection, PAF joins hearts and hands with the brave men and women of the armed forces and honors them by assisting their families during their absence. We will continue to actively work on their behalf to ensure the preservation of their financial stability and uninterrupted access to appropriate health care. Should you need direct assistance by a member of our case management team or have further questions about protections for reserve families, please contact us at
1 (800) 532-5274.
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