Congresswoman Elaine Luria Leads Bipartisan Effort to Reduce Prescription Drug Costs for Military Families and Retirees During COVID-19

April 13, 2020
Press Release
Initiative is Endorsed by 13 Veterans Service Organizations

VIRGINIA BEACH, VA – Today, Congresswoman Elaine Luria led a bipartisan effort calling on Congressional leadership to temporarily eliminate copays on mail order prescription drugs for TRICARE beneficiaries during the COVID-19 pandemic in the next relief package. This initiative earned the support of over 50 of Congresswoman’s Luria’s colleagues as well as 13 veterans service organizations (VSOs).

“During this unprecedented health crisis, it is vital to practice social distancing and protect military families and mission critical personnel at military treatment facilities,” said Congresswoman Luria. “By temporarily eliminating the copay on mail order prescriptions, we can ensure that TRICARE beneficiaries can access their medicine without endangering themselves or others. I urge Congressional Leadership to include this commonsense provision in future coronavirus relief legislation.”

Section 702 of the Fiscal Year 2018 National Defense Authorization Act adjusted pharmacy copayments for 2018 through 2027. In 2020, the copay for a 90-day supply of a generic drug is $10, while the copay for name brand drugs is $29. However, beneficiaries who pick up their prescriptions at a Military Treatment Facility (MTF) do not pay a copay.

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, some installation commanders suspended installation access for retirees and survivors to protect mission critical personnel from infection. This means many TRICARE beneficiaries can no longer access MTF pharmacies and must transfer their prescriptions to mail order of retail pharmacies. Temporarily eliminating the copay on mail order prescription drugs will ease this unexpected financial burden on veterans and their families.

Endorsing Organizations: Air Force Sergeants Association, Association of Military Surgeons of the United States, Blinded Veterans Association, Commissioned Officers Association of the US Public Health Service, EANGUS: Enlisted Association of the National Guard of the United States, Fleet Reserve Association, Gold Star Wives of America, Military Officers Association of America, National Military Family Association, Service Women’s Action Network, Tragedy Assistance Program For Survivors, TREA: The Enlisted Association, and Wounded Warrior Project.

See here for the letter.

Congresswoman Elaine Luria represents Virginia’s 2nd Congressional District. She serves on the House Armed Services Committee, where she is the Vice Chair of the Seapower and Projection Forces Subcommittee, and the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs, where she serves as Chair of the Disability Assistance and Memorial Affairs Subcommittee.