Since 2001, the number of reservists mobilized for active duty has increased dramatically. Congress has expanded reservists' and their dependents' eligibility for TRICARE, the Department of Defense's (DOD) health insurance program. The National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year 2004 directed GAO to examine the health insurance coverage of reservists and their dependents. This report (1) identifies the extent to which reservists have civilian health insurance, (2) examines DOD's efforts to educate reservists and their dependents about TRICARE, and (3) describes reservists' level of satisfaction with TRICARE and the types of problems reservists and their dependents experienced when using it. To do this, GAO relied on interviews with DOD and DOD's survey data. GAO also administered a survey of TRICARE benefit assistance coordinators.
Recommendations for Executive Action
|Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense (Health Affairs)||The Assistant Secretary of Defense for Health Affairs should improve TRICARE education for reservists and their dependents by providing additional TRICARE briefings to reservists and their dependents. These briefings could be provided to reservists during training periods not associated with mobilizations or at the time that reservists are first informed of their impending mobilization.|