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Funds Set for Reserve Mobilization Insurance Program

By Staff Sgt. Alicia K. Borlik, USA
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, June 1, 1998 – Reservists who are still owed money under the Ready Reserve Mobilization Insurance Program will finally be paid in full.

Deployed reservists who enrolled in the now defunct program and were on involuntary mobilization orders before the Nov. 18, 1997, deadline will start getting full regular payments June 15 and every month thereafter until their deployments end. They also continue to pay premiums, said Army Lt. Col. Terry Jones, DoD reserve affairs spokesman.

He said all reservists owed back pay should receive full payments during the two-week period beginning July 15.

President Clinton signed an emergency supplemental appropriation act May 1 that included $47 million to pay all the insurance program costs to the end of fiscal 1998. About 2,900 service members will receive payments.

"On May 20, DoD received the authority to disburse the money," Jones said. "The Defense Finance and Accounting Service is now taking the necessary actions to make full and timely payments." He said June payments will vary between $500 and $5,000, based on the coverage the service member signed up for.

Congress discontinued the insurance program Nov. 18 after less than two years, blaming low enrollments and high costs. The program grew out of the Gulf War experience. In surveys about two-thirds of the 268,000 reservists mobilized during the Gulf War said they suffered economic losses. The insurance program offered reservists up to $5,000 a month to cover income losses if they were involuntarily mobilized.

Only 3 percent of the service members eligible for insurance signed up when it was offered.

"The timing of the program was bad," Jones said. "Low enrollment, timing of Bosnia mission and length [of Bosnia mission] caused deficits." Because of the deficit, deployed reservists have only been getting 5 percent of their insurance benefits -- $250 on a $5,000 per month policy.

Those with questions about the program should start at their unit personnel section.

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