One major issue  left hanging due to Congress' delayed action on the FY2011 Defense Authorization Act is authority for military parents to continue TRICARE coverage for their adult children until age 26 if they don't have access to employer health coverage.

Current language in both the House and Senate versions of the defense bill allows the Secretary of Defense to charge a premium equal to the full cost of providing the care.

Last week, defense officials announced that premium to insure military children to the age of 26 would be about $2,400 per child per year which that is less than the $988 per quarter now charged under TRICARE's Continuing Health Care Benefits Program, the $2,400 premium is not being charged to non-military parents for this new extra coverage.

Many large private insurance carriers have already implemented this coverage as of June 1. Coverage under the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program for federal civilians and Congress will begin as of January 1, 2011. Neither will require a separate premium for the extra child coverage, as the civilian insurers spread the modest extra cost among all the insured.

Because a separate law governs TRICARE, Congress must pass a separate law change to include TRICARE. And defense officials say they have to charge a separate premium because they can't spread the cost among other beneficiaries as civilian insurers do. Congress needs to fix this.

AUSA, and members of the Military Coalition, doesn't believe military parents should have to pay this extra premium when other Americans don't, and are working with sponsors on legislation to eliminate it. Watch for additional information.