Pentagon asks Congress to suspend reserve mobilization income insurance program
Assistant Secretary of Defense for Reserve Affairs Deborah R. Lee has asked Congress to suspend the 1996 Ready Reserve Mobilization Income Insurance Program (RRMIIP).
“After a three-month study, we concluded that the program’s immediate problem-the unfortunate timing of the Bosnia call-up announcements coinciding with the initial enrollment period-was further complicated by fundamental longterm problems of low enrollment and a significant over representation of mobilized reservists in the insured population,” Secretary Lee said during an update on the program following testimony before Congress. “These systemic problems will require program suspension while we examine other options for addressing reservists’ concerns about income loss upon activation. Despite the suspension, we are confident that reservists entitled to benefits will be paid in full.”
National Guard and Reserve members became eligible to enroll in the program October 1, 1996. The voluntary program was set up to supplement the income of National Guard and Reserve members who are involuntarily called to active duty for more than 30 days.
Pentagon officials submitted an official request to the Office of Management and Budget for a supplemental appropriation from Congress to fund the program, which is $ 72 million in debt. A provision to request supplemental funding was included in the law passed to set up the insurance plan.
Congress created the program in 1996 in the expectation that U.S. peacekeeping troops in Bosnia would be home by the end of the year. A much higher estimate of anticipated enrollment by the Rand Corporation encouraged this action.
The Defense Department has submitted a separate legislative proposal to Congress that would suspend enrollments in the program. Although the deadline for current members has passed, new enlistees are still being offered an opportunity to enroll in the program.
If enacted, the new legislation would restrict future benefits to pay only those Guard and Reserve members who are activated for covered service before the date of enactment or date specified by Congress in legislation.
Copyright National Guard Association of the United States Jul 1997
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