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Rule

TRICARE; Changes Included in the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2006; TRICARE Dental Program

Document Details

Information about this document as published in the Federal Register.

Published Document

This document has been published in the Federal Register. Use the PDF linked in the document sidebar for the official electronic format.

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AGENCY:

Office of the Secretary, DoD.

ACTION:

Interim final rule.

SUMMARY:

The Department is publishing this interim final rule to implement section 713 of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2006 (NDAA for FY06), Public Law 109-163. Specifically, that legislation expands the eligibility for survivor benefits under the TRICARE Dental Program (TDP) to include the active duty spouse of a member who dies while on active duty for a period of more than 30 days. The rule is being published as an interim final rule with comment period in order to comply with statutory effective dates. Public comments are invited and will be considered for possible revisions to the final rule.

DATES:

This rule is effective November 17, 2006.

Comments: Written comments received at the address indicated below by January 16, 2007 will be accepted.

ADDRESSES:

You may submit comments, identified by docket number and or RIN number and title, by any of the following methods:

  • Federal eRulemaking Portal: http://www.regulations.gov. Follow the instructions for submitting comments.
  • Mail: Federal Docket Management System Office, 1160 Defense Pentagon, Washington, DC 20301-1160.

Instructions: All submissions received must include the agency name and docket number or Regulatory Information Number (RIN) for this Federal Register document. The general policy for comments and other submissions from members of the public is to make these submissions available for public viewing on the Internet at http://regulations.gov as they are received without change, including any personal identifiers or contact information.

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FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Col. Gary C. Martin, Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense (Health Affairs), TRICARE Management Activity, telephone (703) 681-0039.

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SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:Start Printed Page 66872

I. Background

Currently, a surviving spouse who is a member of the armed forces on active duty for a period of more than 30 days at the time the other active duty military member spouse dies and subsequently separates from active duty, is ineligible for the TDP survivor benefit. The surviving active duty spouse is ineligible because he or she was not enrolled in the program at the time of the spouse's death. Active duty members are not eligible for enrollment in the TDP. There are many dual military couples in the armed forces and the authority provided by section 713 of the NDAA for FY06 will permit the Department to expand the eligibility for survivor benefits under the TDP to include the active duty spouse of a member who dies while on active duty for a period of more than 30 days who subsequently separates from active duty during the three-year survivor period.

II. Regulatory Procedures

Executive Order (EO) 12866

Executive Order 12866 requires that a comprehensive regulatory impact analysis be performed on any economically significant regulatory action, defined as one that would result in an annual effect of $100 million or more on the national economy or which would have other substantial impacts. The Regulatory Flexibility Act (RFA) requires that each Federal agency prepare, and make available for public comment, a regulatory flexibility analysis when the agency issues a regulation which would have a significant impact on a substantial number of small entities. This rule is not an economically significant regulatory action and will not have a significant impact on a substantial number of small entities for purposes of the RFA, thus this interim final rule is not subject to any of these requirements. This rule, although not economically significant under Executive Order 12866, is a significant rule under Executive Order 12866 and has been reviewed by the Office of Management and Budget. This rule is being issued as an interim final rule, with comment period, as an exception to our standard practice of soliciting public comments prior to issuance. This is because the effective date of the changes to the TDP contained in section 713 of the NDAA for FY06 was January 6, 2006. This interim rule would amend the CFR to allow the TDP to conform to the new statutory authority. Based on these statutory requirements, the Assistant Secretary of Defense (Health Affairs) has determined that following the standard practice in this case would be unnecessary, impractical and contrary to the public interest. Public comments are invited. All comments will be carefully considered. A discussion of the major issues received by public comments will be included with the issuance of the final rule.

Paperwork Reduction Act

This rule will not impose additional information collection requirements on the public under the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (44 U.S.C. 3501-3511).

We have examined the impact(s) of the interim final rule under Executive Order 13132 and it does not have policies that have federalism implications that would have substantial direct effects on the States, on the relationship between the national government and the States, or on the distribution of power and responsibilities among the various levels of government, therefore, consultation with State and local officials is not required.

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List of Subjects in 32 CFR Part 199

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For the reasons set out in the preamble, the Department of Defense amends

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PART 199—[AMENDED]

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1. The authority citation for part 199 continues to read as follows:

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Authority: 5 U.S.C. 301; 10 U.S.C. chapter 55.

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2. Section 199.13 is amended by revising paragraphs (c)(3)(ii)(E)(

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TRICARE dental program.

(c) * * *

(3) * * *

(ii) * * *

(E) * * *

(2) Continuation of eligibility. Eligible dependents of active duty members while on active duty for a period of more than 30 days and eligible dependents of members of the Ready Reserve (i.e., Selected Reserve or Individual Ready Reserve, as specified in 10 U.S.C. 10143 and 10144(b) respectively), shall be eligible for continued enrollment in the TDP for up to three (3) years from the date of the member's death, if, on the date of the death of the member, the dependent is enrolled in the TDP, or is not enrolled by reason of discontinuance of a former enrollment under paragraphs (c)(3)(ii)(E)(4)(ii) and (c)(3)(ii)(E)(4)(iii) of this section, or is not enrolled because the dependent was under the minimum age for enrollment at the time of the member's death, or is not qualified for enrollment because the dependent is a spouse who is a member of the armed forces on active duty for a period of more than 30 days but subsequently separates or is discharged from active duty. This continued enrollment is not contingent on the Selected Reserve or Individual Ready Reserve member's own enrollment in the TDP. During the three-year period of continuous enrollment, the government will pay both the Government and the beneficiary's portion of the premium share.

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Dated: November 13, 2006.

L.M. Bynum,

OSD Federal Register Liaison Officer, Department of Defense.

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[FR Doc. E6-19437 Filed 11-16-06; 8:45 am]

BILLING CODE 5001-06-P