Someone asked me the other day what a gray area retiree was (I used the term to describe myself) so an explanation -
Members of the Retired Reserve under age 60 (not entitled to reserve retired pay until reaching age 60) are often referred to as Gray Area Retirees. These Gray Area Retirees are entitled to unlimited use of Military exchanges and Morale, Welfare and Recreation (MWR) facilities and commissaries.
Gray Area Retirees must have a valid military Reserve Identification Card. Eligible family members must have a Reserve Family Member ID Card. These cards are available at all military facilities that issue identification cards.
At age 60 and upon receiving retired pay, individuals must complete an application to receive the Retired (blue) ID Card. At that time we and our family members can become eligible for medical and dental care at military facilities (as provided by the installation); TRICARE programs; unlimited use of commissaries and exchanges; and unlimited space "A" travel.
Between the time of Reserve retirement and age 60 we essentially must fend for ourselves in medical insurance, etc…typically handled through our civilian employers. This includes any treatment for un-documented or uncharacterized service connected treatments. I.e. treatment for illness or injury which at time of treatment cannot be directly tied to service. So, for example if you were a Reserve soldier poisoned by KBR water treatment in Iraq and incur illness later on…hopefully your civilian health insurance and your wallet can cover the bill…
Is it time to reconsider this in light of National Health Care discussions?