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Insurance Program Cuts Benefit, Will End

By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Oct. 17, 1997 – Reservists will receive only 5 percent of their mobilization insurance benefit until Congress passes the 1998 Defense Authorization Act, DoD officials said.

But once the act passes, the program ends.

Deployed reservists enrolled in the Ready Reserve Mobilization Income Insurance Program will receive 5 percent of their benefit until the president signs the authorization bill. Reservists then will receive all back payments, DoD officials said.

The fiscal 1998 Defense Appropriations Act earmarked $65 million to meet obligations through fiscal 1998. DoD still needs authority -- under the authorization bill -- to spend the money.

Once the act is signed, your program coverage lasts out that month and ends if you are not deployed and don't have orders for deployment. If you are insured and involuntarily deployed, the law says you will receive the full benefit through the end of your orders.

Also, reservists on orders for deployment -- not just alert notices -- qualify for the full benefit.

Mobilization insurance started in 1996 and was trouble-plagued from the start. It was to be self-sustaining, meaning premiums were supposed to cover benefits. The program suffered from low enrollment and never generated the money to keep it going.

Mobilization insurance grew out of Desert Shield/Storm when surveys revealed about two-thirds of the 268,000 reservists called up for the operations said they suffered economic loss.

Those joining the program paid $12.20 per $1,000 worth of coverage. Reservists could choose coverage from $500 to $5,000 per month.

DoD officials said the program was a good idea and they would like to pursue a similar program in the future.

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