Thousands of National Guardsmen around the country are in contact with people who’ve contracted COVID-19. But while the federal government has called on them for frontline assistance in battling the pandemic, it’s not giving them what they need to protect themselves: access to the military’s health insurance.
The approximately 20,000 guardsmen who have been called up to help states around the country deal with the spread of the coronavirus are federalized on what’s called Title 32 status, which puts them in command of their various state governors but with the federal government paying costs.
But according to the National Guard’s advocates and the U.S. governors’ association, the guardsmen are activated on orders that last 30 days. That puts them one single day shy of the requirement allowing the military health insurance system known as TRICARE—think of it as Medicare For All In Uniform—to cover them. Military Times first reported the eligibility shortfall.