DoD Announces Removal of Certain Temporary Regulation Changes Made in Response to COVID-19 for TRICARE

– Comment by July 23. The U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) issued a direct final rule removing temporary TRICARE regulations established in response to the COVID-19 public health emergency. TRICARE is the health insurance program for active-duty service members and their families. Examples of expiring flexibilities include the removal of the temporary waiver requirement for a three-day prior hospital stay before admission to a skilled nursing facility, the removal of the temporary reimbursement of all long-term care hospitals (LTCHs) at the LTCH prospective payment system standard Federal rate and the removal of the temporary waiver of cost-shares and copayments associated with telehealth services. A disproportionate share of veterans live in rural America. According to the National Center for Veterans Analysis and Statistics and the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Office of Rural Health (ORH), of the nearly 20 million veterans in the United States, 4.4 million live in rural America. 2.7 million, or 61%, of these rural veterans are enrolled in the Veteran Affairs (VA) healthcare system, with 54% of rural enrolled veterans 65 years and older, and 60% affected by a service-related condition.