Unsurprisingly, no one happy with TRICARE fee increases

 
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Unsurprisingly, no one happy with TRICARE fee increases

Well, color me unsurprised.  You mean retroactively changing a contract after one party has fully performed isn't uniformly appreciated?

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KTHV) -- The department which overseas retirement benefits for some veterans has proposed a 400 percent premium increase for enrollees over the next five years.

"We feel like some of that is to try to defer the cost of healthcare for the army and the military services and that's not what the healthcare system is set up for, nor the VA system," said Commander Glen Minor of the American Legion Department of Arkansas.

Under the plan officials said veterans would be divided into three tiers.

Tricare, the department which oversee the benefit, released the following concerning the three tiers:

"From FY2013 - 2016, the proposed enrollment fee increases for working age retirees are phased in. The proposed changes include a tiered fee structure based on an individual retiree's pension payment. Retirees in the Tier One category (pensions between $0 - $22,589) will have TRICARE Prime enrollment fees increase from the current annual fee of $520 to $600, or less than $7 per month in 2013. This group constitutes almost 50 percent of the eligible retiree families. Retirees in the Tier Two category (pensions between $22,590 - $45,178), constituting about 38 percent of the population, will have Prime enrollment fees increase from $520 to $720, a $200 increase, or about $17 per month. Retirees in Tier Three ($45,179 and above), constituting about 12 percent of the population, will have Prime enrollment fees increase from $520 to $820, or an increase of $25 per month.

Here's part of the video on it, where our Commander there does an outstanding job:

 

Congress doesn't really view the changes as any more positive:

Members of a key Senate panel warned Pentagon officials Wednesday of a looming, lengthy debate on the Defense Department’s proposal to raise Tricare fees for military retirees, saying the increases unfairly target those who devoted their careers to the armed forces.

Sen. Jim Webb, D-Va., a former Marine and current chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee’s personnel panel, said the proposal reneges on an obligation established when the nation’s volunteer forces signed up.

“You can’t renegotiate the front end once the back end is done,” Webb said. “You’re changing someone’s contract after the contract has been signed.”

The DoD has been trying to pull this same maneuver for years, and it's never worked before either.  The real reason they do it though is because the budget numbers are based on what the Administration proposes.  So, when the Congressional Budget Office "scores" the budget, it will include all of the revenue from raising these fees, and then Congress will not allow them.  This allows the Administration to claim a lower figure on the budget, and then Congress to declare to all veterans that they blocked the fee increases.  From their points of view, it is win-win.

Something needs to change in order to keep this from happening each year, but I'm not bright enough to propose a solution that would get through Congress.  Either way, it's a dodge on the part of both branches of Gov't.

Either way, rest assured that we will be there fighting it every year this hare-brained scheme makes it's reappearance.

Posted in the burner | 15 comments
 
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Comments

As a recruiter part of the time I was in (1980-1982) we told applicants they got free healthcare for life. Apparently what your taught in class does not have to be true forever.

When I joined the U.S. Navy in 1951, I was promised FREE Health Care for life, if I stayed in for 20 and retired. I did the 20(plus), retired, and now I expect the FREE Health Care to continue as promised!!!

I agree, everyone should have to shoulder some of the problems our country is currently going through. I do not believe, however, that the people supporting ourt freedoms should shoulder the entire costs. 400%? How about Congress pays out 400% for some of their benefits, then let's sit down and talk turkey.

What do you expect from a SOCIALIST Government, they seem to touch only Military, Retired Military and Social Security Benefits, not their benefits.

i am a veteran i served in the miitary 34 years,we fought hard to keep this country FREE and for poeple to keep their freedom i think our vets should have free health care,Atfer all look what they went through to keep this country free.so let congress take 400% out of their pay then we can talk big time.I support my bothers and sisters who fought for this counrty 100%,so let them keep their free health care,us vets deserve at least that

We retirees have been cheated after we kept our contract with the US Government. For over 20 years we
put our lives on the line and we told"Stick with us and we will take care of you in your old age". Damn
liars give us a small raise in SS and COL then take out more for medicare and tricare. We do not even get medical care, unless we co-pay it and NO dental care. Before I jumped into the water to save lives I should have demanded a signed contract-but would it be worth the paper it was signed on???

HOW TRUE IT IS
THE GOVERMENT WILL NOT KEEP ITS WORD FOR ANY THING THEY SAY
EVEN IF YOU HAD GOTTEN A SIGNED CONTRACT

One good thing I followed upon induction was don't believe anything the recruiters tell you. Heard this story a million times, and my drill sergeants in basic training debunked it a million times. I was educated, listened, and was governed accordingly. Read the contract carefully before signing.

It's unfortunate, but the FACEBOOK Chumps are beyond help.

Then you must be the "king of the chumps", right champ? What I detect here is the ongoing ingratitude on the part of the Government that has existed since the end of the Vietnam war. Nothing has changed. Many of our veterans have lost faith and gone on with their lives. It will have to be a "hard sell" to get them back (if ever!). Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.
HAPPY APRIL FOOLS DAY, and that is no joke!

The reason the gov. goes after vets is they know we will toe the line. It's time that vets require congress to toe the line.

It has been a very long time since Congress demonstrated any common sense. BTW if all U.S. Congress-critters (male and female) took an equal percent in Tricare deductible based on their net government income it still wouldn't be close to being fair without these same individuals being veterans that actually served in the military. Getting expensive meals and corporate perks from lobbyists while being paid by the taxpayers is not equivalent to serving in the military in any way whatsoever.

If these Congress-critters are so interested in saving money let them cut their pay and taxpayer provided per diem expenses by 50% and require a career in US government service (20 years minimum) limited to only two terms in the US Congress before they collect any retirement pay. If 20 years minimum is required for military personnel then there should be the same requirement for every person that serves in Congress or the White House. If they can attain such exalted offices then they should have no problem locating suitable government employment upon leaving office in order to EARN their retirement pay. Those holding office are no more entitled to anything than any other common citizen and haven’t earned early retirement simply because they sat in Congress for a couple of years.

Robert Ireland (PUFL)
Post 174 Willits, CA

Impose term limits by using your vote in all elections. This is one way to stop what the president and Congress are doing to this country. Write letters to them and let them know what you think of the job they are doing or better put; NOT DOING. The actions of those in Washington must be stopped while this country still has a chance to recover. They must be stopped, NOW!!!

Strange how our current administration wants to emplace a tiered fee structure based on one's personal motivations and accomplishments while serving in uniform. I busted ass for 37 years, made it to CW5 through deployments and just retired last month. When I performed TDY, my reimbursements were the same as the E-3s or the O-8s I traveled with. Our health care premiums, while it's bad enough that we have to pay them based on the sacrifices made to the nation, should be structured the same way. A human body is, after all, a human body, and the medical community doesn't give a whit whether you were a corporal or a colonel while in uniform.

I am a retired proud American veteran of 33 years. I started with Vietnam and ended my career with Desert Storm.It always seems that the idiots in Washington always want to hurt the 1% of us that wear the uniform that protects their stupid a's. I think all of us should stop and protect only our country as civilians and let them protect the rest of the world as politicians, with their mouths instead of our lives. Then they may become smart enough to give us what we are entitled. All medical care and meds without any cost to us. Maybe we as military veterans need to stand together and tell them we have had enough. As one or two we can't accomplish nothing.

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News from the World of Military and Veterans Issues. Iraq and A-Stan in parenthesis reflects that the author is currently deployed to that theater.