WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and Todd Young (R-IN), along with U.S. Representatives Brad Finstad (R-MN) and Angie Craig (D-MN), introduced bipartisan legislation to reduce medical costs for civilians as they apply to join our armed services. The Applicant Medical Reimbursement Act would authorize the Department of Defense to reimburse applicants for co-pays up to $100 for visits to civilian medical providers seen as part of the military application process. 

“When Americans answer the call to serve, they shouldn’t face barriers and prohibitive costs. I have heard from the Minnesota National Guard about recruits who want to join the military but drop out of the process once it's clear there are medical costs they will have to shoulder on their own,” said Klobuchar. “This bipartisan bill will enable the Department of Defense to reimburse for co-pays from civilian medical visits associated with the application process.”

“When enlisting to serve our country in uniform, many applicants are forced to choose between paying for certain required medical appointments out-of-pocket, which can result in long wait times, or ending their enlistment process. Our bipartisan bill would address current gaps in coverage and better ensure that those who desire to serve our country are not hindered or prohibited by medical costs,” said Young.

“As a member of the House Armed Services Committee, I have heard from military officials about the challenges they face when it comes to recruitment,” said Finstad. “I am proud to introduce the Applicant Medical Reimbursement Act because it is commonsense legislation that makes it easier for men and women to serve our country.” 

“We should be doing everything in our power to make life easier for the patriotic men and women who choose to join our armed forces – that’s what this common sense, bipartisan bill will do. I’ll keep working with this bipartisan coalition to get our bill passed and remove barriers to enlistment for all those who choose to step up and serve our country,” said Craig. 

“No military applicant should incur a cost to enlist.  The military medical screening system often involves applicant out of pocket expenses to see civilian providers,” said Army Maj. Gen. Shawn Manke, Minnesota National Guard’s adjutant general. “This Congressional effort helps remove barriers to the enlistment process for all future service members across the nation.”

During 2023, the military services collectively missed recruiting goals by about 41,000 recruits. The Applicant Medical Reimbursement Act will minimize cost barriers for eligible and interested applicants.