View Full Version : Tricare fee hikes needed, task force is told
01-17-07, 08:53 AM
Tricare fee hikes needed, task force is told <br />
By Gordon Lubold - Staff writer <br />
Posted : Wednesday Jan 17, 2007 6:09:17 EST <br />
A new task force charged with looking at the future of military health...
01-22-07, 01:41 PM
Lawmakers move to block Tricare fee hikes
By Rick Maze - Staff writer
Posted : Monday Jan 22, 2007 12:34:59 EST
A bill preventing the Defense Department from increasing Tricare premiums for reservists, retirees and their families was introduced Friday by two champions of military benefits.
Reps. Chet Edwards, D-Texas, and Walter Jones, R-N.C., introduced the Military Retirees Healthcare Protection Act just days after Pentagon officials renewed their calls for increasing Tricare premiums, deductibles and co-payments for some beneficiaries to deal with the military’s rising health care costs.
Edwards and Jones said they believe there are alternatives to making beneficiaries pay more.
Edwards, chairman of the House Appropriations subcommittee on military construction and veterans affairs, said, “I believe that keeping our promise of quality, affordable health care for military retirees is the right thing to do and the smart thing to do. Our nation has a moral obligation to keep our promises to those who have kept their promise to defend our nation. It is the smart thing to do because we cannot attract the best and brightest to fight our war on terrorism in the years ahead if they see us breaking faith with those who served in years past.”
Jones, a member of the House Armed Services Committee, said the bill “is about offering protection for the men and women who are willing to protect our nation from its enemies, and keeping promises to those who have promised to put themselves in harm’s way when called upon.”
“The families of our armed forces deserve consistent health care benefits,” Jones said.
Last year, the Bush administration proposed to double and triple Tricare premiums for “working-age” retirees, those under age 65, but Congress blocked the move, ordering more study. That has not stopped the Pentagon from pursing higher fees, which is why Edwards and Jones made a point of introducing their bill before the administration sends its fiscal 2008 budget to Congress.
The bill, HR 579, prohibits increases in enrollment fees for Tricare Prime and Tricare Reserve Select, in pharmacy co-pays and in co-pays for inpatient care unless Congress specifically approves such fees. The bill was referred to the House Armed Services Committee.
Many of us who are retired and enrolled in the TriCare Prime program would have little or no objection to an increase in the enrollment fees for medical care provided that we can:
1. See any health care provider we wish.
2. Visit any medical facility in the country of our choosing.
Currently, I must drive over 100 miles round-trip to see a cardiologist. And, up until just recently, the nearest hospital I could utilize is 30 miles away, as opposed to the one nine-tenths of a mile from my home.
A rate increase would be acceptable to me as long as the benefits for using TriCare are also improved upon.
02-16-07, 01:59 PM
Senators move to cap Tricare fee increases
By Rick Maze - Staff writer
Posted : Friday Feb 16, 2007 13:47:57 EST
While the Bush administration appears to backpedal on a budget proposal to raise Tricare fees for military retirees and reservists, two senators — one a Democrat and one a Republican — have moved to cap fee increases.
The Department of Defense budget includes an assumption that $1.86 billion will be generated for military health care by doubling Tricare fees for senior enlisted retirees and tripling fees for retired officers.
At a Tuesday hearing, the Pentagon’s chief health official, Dr. William Winkenwerder, tried to pass off the $1.86 billion as a “placeholder” just in case an independent task force now looking at defense health care approved a fee increase. But members of Congress aren’t convinced that the Department of Defense is really open-minded about the fee increases.
If Task Force on the Future of Military Healthcare does not recommend fee increase when it issues a report later this year, or if Congress does not approve of the fee increases, the health care budget would be $1.86 billion short. A final report from the task force is expected in May, about the same time that the House and Senate armed services committees will start writing their versions of the 2008 defense authorization bill.
Winkenwerder was asked if there is a backup plan if the fee increases were not approved. He said there was a plan, but did not say what it might include.
Frank R Lautenberg, D-N.J., and Chuck Hagel, R-Neb., introduced a bill on Thursday that would allow but cap Tricare fee increases. Any jump in fees, deductibles and co-payments for Tricare coverage or pharmacies would be limited to the percentage increase in military pay. That would be retired pay for retirees and basic pay for active-duty members and reservists.
The bill, S 604, would not be binding, however. It asks but does not demand that the fee increases be limited, leaving open the possibility that the Department of Defense could act in defiance of Congress even if the measure passed. However, the bill is unlikely to pass on its own, so there is plenty of time to make changes, including making it binding.
Rep. Vic Snyder, D-Ark., the House military personnel subcommittee chairman who questioned Winkenwerder about the Pentagon’s intentions on Tuesday, said he is not opposed to any fee increase, but thinks the Pentagon plan is excessive in proposing to double and triple costs in a single year
03-05-07, 05:58 PM
I am paying way to much out of pocket for surgery that I need, I thought the military gave better benefits than this everytime I go to the doctor I have to fork out tons of money that Tricare won't pick up on. Plus I had so much problems enrolling in Tricare Prime and getting told how I should enroll into dental.
Let me introduce myself first. I have been a participating member on this site for over two years using a different name. So for my first post with this name….
I use the VA 100% not by choice but by circumstances. Last week I went 5 times. 124 miles round trip each time so in one week that was 620 miles. I was billed for seeing 17 Doctors and had 11 prescriptions filled. And I don’t get dental, which I need badly.
I am fighting with Social Security to get on 100% disability and the DAV. I am using paralyzed veterans of America.
But long story short I can see doctors. I have to travel. I may not like some people but I am getting healthcare.