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road kill
02-29-2012, 04:23 PM
Trashing Tricare
Obama to cut healthcare benefits for active duty and retired US military

BY: Bill Gertz - February 27, 2012 3:36 pm
The Obama administration’s proposed defense budget calls for military families and retirees to pay sharply more for their healthcare, while leaving unionized civilian defense workers’ benefits untouched. The proposal is causing a major rift within the Pentagon, according to U.S. officials. Several congressional aides suggested the move is designed to increase the enrollment in Obamacare’s state-run insurance exchanges.

The disparity in treatment between civilian and uniformed personnel is causing a backlash within the military that could undermine recruitment and retention.

The proposed increases in health care payments by service members, which must be approved by Congress, are part of the Pentagon’s $487 billion cut in spending. It seeks to save $1.8 billion from the Tricare medical system in the fiscal 2013 budget, and $12.9 billion by 2017.

Many in Congress are opposing the proposed changes, which would require the passage of new legislation before being put in place.

“We shouldn’t ask our military to pay our bills when we aren’t willing to impose a similar hardship on the rest of the population,” Rep. Howard “Buck” McKeon, chairman of the House Armed Services Committee and a Republican from California, said in a statement to the Washington Free Beacon. “We can’t keep asking those who have given so much to give that much more.”

Administration officials told Congress that one goal of the increased fees is to force military retirees to reduce their involvement in Tricare and eventually opt out of the program in favor of alternatives established by the 2010 Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, aka Obamacare.

“When they talked to us, they did mention the option of healthcare exchanges under Obamacare. So it’s in their mind,” said a congressional aide involved in the issue.

Military personnel from several of the armed services voiced their opposition to a means-tested tier system for Tricare, prompting Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Martin Dempsey to issue a statement Feb. 21.

Dempsey said the military is making tough choices in cutting defense spending. In addition to the $487 billion over 10 years, the Pentagon is facing automatic cuts that could push the total reductions to $1 trillion.

“I want those of you who serve and who have served to know that we’ve heard your concerns, in particular your concern about the tiered enrollment fee structure for Tricare in retirement,” Dempsey said. “You have our commitment that we will continue to review our health care system to make it as responsive, as affordable, and as equitable as possible.”

Under the new plan, the Pentagon would get the bulk of its savings by targeting under-65 and Medicare-eligible military retirees through a tiered increase in annual Tricare premiums that will be based on yearly retirement pay.

Significantly, the plan calls for increases between 30 percent to 78 percent in Tricare annual premiums for the first year. After that, the plan will impose five-year increases ranging from 94 percent to 345 percent—more than 3 times current levels.
According to congressional assessments, a retired Army colonel with a family currently paying $460 a year for health care will pay $2,048.
The new plan hits active duty personnel by increasing co-payments for pharmaceuticals and eliminating incentives for using generic drugs.

The changes are worrying some in the Pentagon who fear it will severely impact efforts to recruit and maintain a high-quality all-volunteer military force. Such benefits have been a key tool for recruiting qualified people and keeping them in uniform.

“Would you stay with a car insurance company that raised your premiums by 345 percent in five years? Probably not,” said the congressional aide. “Would anybody accept their taxes being raised 345 percent in five years? Probably not.”

A second congressional aide said the administration’s approach to the cuts shows a double standard that hurts the military.

“We all recognize that we are in a time of austerity,” this aide said. “But defense has made up to this point 50 percent of deficit reduction cuts that we agreed to, but is only 20 percent of the budget.”
The administration is asking troops to get by without the equipment and force levels needed for global missions. “And now they are going to them again and asking them to pay more for their health care when you’ve held the civilian workforce at DoD and across the federal government virtually harmless in all of these cuts. And it just doesn’t seem fair,” the second aide said.

Spokesmen for the Defense Department and the Joint Chiefs of Staff did not respond to requests for comment on the Tricare increases.

The massive increases beginning next year appear timed to avoid upsetting military voters in a presidential election year, critics of the plan say.

Additionally, the critics said leaving civilian workers’ benefits unchanged while hitting the military reflect the administration’s effort to court labor unions, as government unions are the only segment of organized labor that has increased in recent years.

As part of the increased healthcare costs, the Pentagon also will impose an annual fee for a program called Tricare for Life, a new program that all military retirees automatically must join at age 65. Currently, to enroll in Tricare for Life, retirees pay the equivalent of a monthly Medicare premium.

Under the proposed Pentagon plan, retirees will be hit with an additional annual enrollment fee on top of the monthly premium.

Congressional aides said that despite unanimous support among the military chiefs for the current healthcare changes, some senior officials in the Pentagon are opposing the reforms, in particular the tiered system of healthcare.

“It doesn’t matter what the benefit is, whether it’s commissary, PX, or healthcare, or whatever … under the rationale that if you raise your hand and sign up to serve, you earn a base set of benefits, and it should have nothing to do with your rank when you served, and how much you’re making when you retire,” the first aide said.

Military service organizations are opposing the healthcare changes and say the Pentagon is “means-testing” benefits for service personnel as if they were a social program, and not something earned with 20 or more years of military service.

Retired Navy Capt. Kathryn M. Beasley, of the Military Officers Association of America, said the Military Coalition, 32 military service and veterans groups with an estimated 5 million members, is fighting the proposed healthcare increases, specifically the use of mean-testing for cost increases.

“We think it’s absolutely wrong,” Beasley told the Free Beacon. “This is a breach of faith” for both the active duty and retiree communities.

Congressional hearings are set for next month.

The Veterans of Foreign Wars on Feb. 23 called on all military personnel and the veterans’ community to block the healthcare increases.

“There is no military personnel issue more sacrosanct than pay and benefits,” said Richard L. DeNoyer, head of the 2 million-member VFW. “Any proposal that negatively impacts any quality of life program must be defeated, and that’s why the VFW is asking everyone to join the fight and send a united voice to Congress.”

Senior Air Force leaders are expected to be asked about the health care cost increases during a House Armed Services Committee hearing scheduled for Tuesday.

Congress must pass all the proposed changes into law, as last year’s defense authorization bill preemptively limited how much the Pentagon could increase some Tricare fees, while other fees already were limited in law.

Tricare for Life, Tricare Prime, and Tricare Standard increases must be approved, as well as some of the pharmacy fee increases, congressional aides said.

Current law limits Tricare fee increases to cost of living increases in retirement pay.







Can't wait to read the spin.


RK

JustinS
02-29-2012, 09:46 PM
Pardon my French but this is BULL$^&# I have met kids who have lost their fathers and families who have lost their sons/brothers and our service men and women take risks without asking much more than the goverment to take care of them while they serve. Now to make his health care plan look better he is going to jack up the rates on tricare and take away money by forcing them to pay more for health care - talk about an economy boost.

coachmo
02-29-2012, 09:51 PM
What's amazing is that the liberal hacks will defend the Obama administration on this and somehow justify the reasoning behind it!

charly_t
02-29-2012, 10:55 PM
Pardon my French but this is BULL$^&# I have met kids who have lost their fathers and families who have lost their sons/brothers and our service men and women take risks without asking much more than the goverment to take care of them while they serve. Now to make his health care plan look better he is going to jack up the rates on tricare and take away money by forcing them to pay more for health care - talk about an economy boost.

Ditto ! I can not believe how our country treats military people anymore.

Down East Labs 217
03-01-2012, 07:33 PM
Every time a democrat is president they try to balance the budget on the back of the military. Clinton did it with style.

This newest twist by our POTUS is going to really hurt my retainer check if it passes to law. (It is not a retirement check it is a retainer check. They can call any retiree back to active duty with a very short notice. If you say no thank you your check stops).

22.5 years in the Marine Corps. I never asked for any favors, never requested a duty station and moved from coast to coast five times plus multiple deployments in between. When I retired I looked forward to life after the Marine Corps and with the knowledge that my wife and I would have medical at a good cost and a small monthly check to help out with expenses.

Now this blow hard wants to take the that away too. Bull $hit.

Richard

Gerry Clinchy
03-01-2012, 08:25 PM
I don't know how Tri-Care works; how it may be similar to Medicare ... but it occurs to me ... based on how Medicare works.

With Medicare, you get Part A from the $ you've paid in over the years. If you want Part B (optional), they take that out of the SS check automatically. However, if you don't also have a "Medi-gap" policy, you will likely go through all your assets if your health goes bad slowly over time and/or you end up in a nursing home.

So ... will the govt ultimately decide that ALL Medicare participants also have to purchase additional health insurance so they don't become dependent on Medicaid?

Rob Paye
03-01-2012, 10:21 PM
I praise everybody for their service but, in Wisconsin the gov. make police, firefighters and teachers and ALOT more of our public employees pay more for their benifits and the right thinks its awesome. Whats the difference??

Down East Labs 217
03-02-2012, 04:31 AM
I praise everybody for their service but, in Wisconsin the gov. make police, firefighters and teachers and ALOT more of our public employees pay more for their benifits and the right thinks its awesome. Whats the difference??

The difference is the retired military was promised medical (Tri-Care) as part of their benefits after service at an affordable price. Increasing by 400% is not at an affordable price. If it needs to be increased than that is fine. Everything goes up in price. It should be increased by the same percentage we receive in our pay increase. 1 to 3 % a year.

Richard

Down East Labs 217
03-02-2012, 04:33 AM
I don't know how Tri-Care works; how it may be similar to Medicare ... but it occurs to me ... based on how Medicare works.

With Medicare, you get Part A from the $ you've paid in over the years. If you want Part B (optional), they take that out of the SS check automatically. However, if you don't also have a "Medi-gap" policy, you will likely go through all your assets if your health goes bad slowly over time and/or you end up in a nursing home.

So ... will the govt ultimately decide that ALL Medicare participants also have to purchase additional health insurance so they don't become dependent on Medicaid?

Tri Care works like an HMO. You have no choice which doctor you see, you have to see your primary health provider before you do anything, and you have to wait for a month for an appointment. Not a great system but it works

Richard

Rob Paye
03-02-2012, 06:42 AM
Kinda sounds like a union contract. Oh, those dont matter anymore!

road kill
03-02-2012, 07:22 AM
I praise everybody for their service but, in Wisconsin the gov. make police, firefighters and teachers and ALOT more of our public employees pay more for their benifits and the right thinks its awesome. Whats the difference??
Could you please list any Police or Firefighters in WI that had their benefits changed?:rolleyes:


Also, the teachers in the municipalities in WI that used ACT10 actually had their "take home" pay increase due to competitive insurance bidding, instead of being FORCED to use the insurance owned by DA UNION which was ridiculously overpriced.:rolleyes:

Also, those municipalities had their taxes LOWERED, how ghastly!!!:rolleyes:


RK

Hew
03-02-2012, 07:40 AM
Could you please list any Police or Firefighters in WI that had their benefits changed?:rolleyes:


Also, the teachers in the municipalities in WI that used ACT10 actually had their "take home" pay increase due to competitive insurance bidding, instead of being FORCED to use the insurance owned by DA UNION which was ridiculously overpriced.:rolleyes:

Also, those municipalities had their taxes LOWERED, how ghastly!!!:rolleyes:


RK
Oops. That doesn't fit the narrative.

Buzz
03-02-2012, 08:48 AM
Could you please list any Police or Firefighters in WI that had their benefits changed?:rolleyes:


Also, the teachers in the municipalities in WI that used ACT10 actually had their "take home" pay increase due to competitive insurance bidding, instead of being FORCED to use the insurance owned by DA UNION which was ridiculously overpriced.:rolleyes:

Also, those municipalities had their taxes LOWERED, how ghastly!!!:rolleyes:


RK

I would love to see statistics on that. Especially the new co-pays, deductibles, and type of plan. Such as, did they switch from a PPO to HMO and such?

Take home pay isn't the bottom line...

road kill
03-02-2012, 09:01 AM
I would love to see statistics on that. Especially the new co-pays, deductibles, and type of plan. Such as, did they switch from a PPO to HMO and such?

Take home pay isn't the bottom line...

I have done this enough times.
If you are truly interested, YOU search it.
I doubt you really want to know the truth.

Fact is, most have admitted they now have a BETTER program than the had.

But you go ahead and praise a rigged game.
You are FORCED to join DA UNION, you are FORCED to buy insurance from the insurance company that DA UNION owns.
The premiums in some cases have been reported at 200% more than what competitive bidding was able to negotiate.

You are FORCED to pay dues (which are withheld by the state and deposited in DA UNION's account for them) to DA UNION which in turn contibutes to the progressive party (formerly the Democrats).

Now, if you want to belong to DA UNION you can.
They now collect their own dues.
Problem wit dat????:cool:


RK

Clay Rogers
03-02-2012, 09:08 AM
Kinda sounds like a union contract. Oh, those dont matter anymore!

Negative! Never met a union man that had to leave his family at a moments notice in the dark of night to go god knows where with a good chance of not coming back. But good try though.:rolleyes:

menmon
03-02-2012, 09:20 AM
I have done this enough times.
If you are truly interested, YOU search it.
I doubt you really want to know the truth.

Fact is, most have admitted they now have a BETTER program than the had.

But you go ahead and praise a rigged game.
You are FORCED to join DA UNION, you are FORCED to buy insurance from the insurance company that DA UNION owns.
The premiums in some cases have been reported at 200% more than what competitive bidding was able to negotiate.

You are FORCED to pay dues (which are withheld by the state and deposited in DA UNION's account for them) to DA UNION which in turn contibutes to the progressive party (formerly the Democrats).

Now, if you want to belong to DA UNION you can.
They now collect their own dues.
Problem wit dat????:cool:


RK

Last time I looked, I only had two insurance options: 1) enroll in what my bank's provider is or 2) go it alone and pay much more. Don't really like how much the bank program cost me and it changes everytime the bank thinks they can do it for less. Does not sound any different that the government making changes to their socialized programs.

Rob Paye
03-02-2012, 09:22 AM
Negative! Never met a union man that had to leave his family at a moments notice in the dark of night to go god knows where with a good chance of not coming back. But good try though.:rolleyes:

Police and Firefighters are BOTH unionized, and BOTH do exactly what you described above!!!

road kill
03-02-2012, 09:25 AM
Police and Firefighters are BOTH unionized, and BOTH do exactly what you described above!!!

And NEITHER had their benefits affected in WI.

FACT!!!

RK

Rob Paye
03-02-2012, 09:29 AM
Could you please list any Police or Firefighters in WI that had their benefits changed?:rolleyes:


Also, the teachers in the municipalities in WI that used ACT10 actually had their "take home" pay increase due to competitive insurance bidding, instead of being FORCED to use the insurance owned by DA UNION which was ridiculously overpriced.:rolleyes:

Also, those municipalities had their taxes LOWERED, how ghastly!!!:rolleyes:


RK

Yes I can, but I wont on here. I know of at least 3 members of the RTF that have been affected. I'll let them tell you about it if they want. Also our DNR officers are taking a hit.

road kill
03-02-2012, 09:40 AM
Yes I can, but I wont on here. I know of at least 3 members of the RTF that have been affected. I'll let them tell you about it if they want. Also our DNR officers are taking a hit.

Well, I disagree wuith that and the FACTS dispute it.

But you Blue Fisters get your recall vote.
Apparently the ELECTION is not good enough.:rolleyes:

You run Kathleen Falk, I'll vote for the guy who WON the ELECTION.

Let's see what happens.


Besides that, this is POTUS, that's all.

I do not know you Rob, but I see you are a dog man.
That's all I really care about.
You are entitled to your politics (as I am as well) and I respect that.
You are where you are due to the roads you have traveled.
I have been down a couple roads my ownself.

Now, you gonna vote for Kathleen Falk??

DA UNION has endorsed her!!:D


RK

Buzz
03-02-2012, 09:48 AM
Police and Firefighters are BOTH unionized, and BOTH do exactly what you described above!!!

My dad was a union firefighter. A few of his friends that I knew as a kid went into fires and were carried out in a body bag. So no, military members are not the only ones risking their lives.

M&K's Retrievers
03-02-2012, 10:07 AM
Last time I looked, I only had two insurance options: 1) enroll in what my bank's provider is or 2) go it alone and pay much more. Don't really like how much the bank program cost me and it changes everytime the bank thinks they can do it for less. Does not sound any different that the government making changes to their socialized programs.

I guess it's not alright for you employer who pays for your insurance (or the lion's share) to shop for a better plan/rates. Typical liberal thinking -griping about something that costs you little as compared to what you would have to pay if you had to provide for it on your own. I suspect the bank pays for you and you pay for your dependents. Believe me when I say your employer would rather give you a raise and let you fend for yourself. Get ready for it because that's what it's coming to as more and more employers are dumping their plans due to increasing costs, low employee appreciation and increasing government involvement.

Gerry Clinchy
03-02-2012, 10:19 AM
I know Mike understands this well, since it's his line of work.

It's been argued by some that employers should get out of the picture with health insurance. It helps to remember that the reason employers got involved to begin with is that when risk is spread over a larger group, the actuarial fact is that the cost can be lower for everyone. The healthy members of the group help support the expenditures for the less healthy.

The flaw in Medicare is probably that the whole group is likely to be high-risk for expenditures due to their age. Just an actuarial fact. I wonder, Mike may have an idea, if Medicare participants were given a stipend to provide their own insurance, might the costs be less since they would then be part of a less homogenous group? Whatever group they joined would have some younger, healthier members to help offset the risk of the high-risk participants. Essentially, that is what Obamacare is trying to do with "insurance exchanges" ... diversify the group; diversify the risk levels of the overall group.

Just about ANY group you can imagine would be more diverse than the group that is part of Medicare.

Uncle Bill
03-02-2012, 10:23 AM
I praise everybody for their service but, in Wisconsin the gov. make police, firefighters and teachers and ALOT more of our public employees pay more for their benifits and the right thinks its awesome. Whats the difference??


Spoken like a blithering Obama toad. Teach those pheasants in your avatar how to shoot back when you're hunting, and you'll get a subtle hint.

We think it's "AWESOME" that your public employees have now got to pay in 'something'. But you something for nothing folks think the world owes you a living, and when it comes time for YOU to pay YOUR fair share, or even if it isn't a 'fair' share, just something, you get your panties in a wad and whine about how you are being unfairly taxed for your own benefits.

You get no sympathy from me or any conservative that understands you are a drag on society. Go live in a socialistic country and get in on the freebies you need to survive. You don't have enough balls to live in a society that requires some individual responsibility. You will always need to be 'kept' by the government, the unionistas, or your mommy.

UB

menmon
03-02-2012, 10:31 AM
I guess it's not alright for you employer who pays for your insurance (or the lion's share) to shop for a better plan/rates. Typical liberal thinking -griping about something that costs you little as compared to what you would have to pay if you had to provide for it on your own. I suspect the bank pays for you and you pay for your dependents. Believe me when I say your employer would rather give you a raise and let you fend for yourself. Get ready for it because that's what it's coming to as more and more employers are dumping their plans due to increasing costs, low employee appreciation and increasing government involvement.

My point was that everyone healthcare benefits change as to manage cost. I clearly have less healthcare today at more cost to me. Until we stop accepting that doctors are entitled to 7 figure salaries and accepting the over testing and the like. We will continue to get less and pay more.

Let's use one of our dogs as an example. I own a boarding facility and from time to time, I have to take a clients dog to the vet. After watching my clients get hosed by the vets closest to me on unnecessary test, I start driving a few miles further to my vet that I trust that not cheap but will not sell you something that is not needed. She in my opinion is the best vet in Houston and if she says a test is needed I don't question it. Can't say that about the others.

This is the problems we have with the medical community.

M&K's Retrievers
03-02-2012, 10:35 AM
I know Mike understands this well, since it's his line of work.

It's been argued by some that employers should get out of the picture with health insurance. It helps to remember that the reason employers got involved to begin with is that when risk is spread over a larger group, the actuarial fact is that the cost can be lower for everyone. The healthy members of the group help support the expenditures for the less healthy.

The flaw in Medicare is probably that the whole group is likely to be high-risk for expenditures due to their age. Just an actuarial fact. I wonder, Mike may have an idea, if Medicare participants were given a stipend to provide their own insurance, might the costs be less since they would then be part of a less homogenous group? Whatever group they joined would have some younger, healthier members to help offset the risk of the high-risk participants. Essentially, that is what Obamacare is trying to do with "insurance exchanges" ... diversify the group; diversify the risk levels of the overall group.

Just about ANY group you can imagine would be more diverse than the group that is part of Medicare.

The healthy would jump on it while the sick would stay and worsen the pool.

Without getting into detail, 'insurance exchanges" have been around for over 60 years. Pools are set up, people come in, they age, get sick, rates go up, the healthy leave for a cheaper pool down the street while the sick are forced to stay in the original pool.

Death spiral regards,

road kill
03-02-2012, 10:47 AM
The healthy would jump on it while the sick would stay and worsen the pool.

Without getting into detail, 'insurance exchanges" have been around for over 60 years. Pools are set up, people come in, they age, get sick, rates go up, the healthy leave for a cheaper pool down the street while the sick are forced to stay in the original pool.

Death spiral regards,

Aren't we all headed towards the "Obama Exchange??":confused:


RK

M&K's Retrievers
03-02-2012, 10:54 AM
My point was that everyone healthcare benefits change as to manage cost. I clearly have less healthcare today at more cost to me. Until we stop accepting that doctors are entitled to 7 figure salaries and accepting the over testing and the like. We will continue to get less and pay more.
......

You are confusing healthcare with health insurance. We have the best healthcare available in the world. Health insurance is meant to reimburse people for catastrophic loss not everyday aches and pains, preventative care, routine pregnancies, colds, etc. The cost for insurance has been adversely affected by government (state and Federal) regulations, mandated benefits, second opinions, per-certification of benefits, etc.

Over testing is a result of doctors covering their asses from malpractice law suits.

I for one prefer having a doctor who can command a 7 figure income as opposed to some hack the government sends me to.

menmon
03-02-2012, 11:12 AM
You are confusing healthcare with health insurance. We have the best healthcare available in the world. Health insurance is meant to reimburse people for catastrophic loss not everyday aches and pains, preventative care, routine pregnancies, colds, etc. The cost for insurance has been adversely affected by government (state and Federal) regulations, mandated benefits, second opinions, per-certification of benefits, etc.

Over testing is a result of doctors covering their asses from malpractice law suits.

I for one prefer having a doctor who can command a 7 figure income as opposed to some hack the government sends me to.

No it is not covering their ass...it is lining their pockets...that is what they want you to believe

Gerry Clinchy
03-02-2012, 12:27 PM
No it is not covering their ass...it is lining their pockets...that is what they want you to believe

Then there should be an over-supply of doctors. However, that is not the case for family practitioners, it would appear.

You trust a surgeon and anesthesiologist with your life. The price for that would be?

menmon
03-02-2012, 12:37 PM
Then there should be an over-supply of doctors. However, that is not the case for family practitioners, it would appear.

You trust a surgeon and anesthesiologist with your life. The price for that would be?

"approperiate"

Gerry Clinchy
03-02-2012, 01:15 PM
At issue are subsidies that will be provided under the health care law to help middle class people buy private coverage in new state insurance markets that will open for business in 2014.
Last year's budget estimated the cost of the aid to be $367 billion from 2014-2011. This year's budget puts it at $478 billion over the same time period.



Just one "error" in estimating the cost of Obamacare is off by 30% ... about $111 billion. Are we really surprised? When has govt ever been anywhere near close to the real costs of programs.




Administration officials say the big increase from last year's estimates is no cause for alarm and that the administration is not forecasting an erosion of employer coverage or higher insurance costs.


About two-thirds of the increase is due to effects of newly signed legislation that raises costs for one part of the health care law, but still saves the government money overall. The rest is due to technical changes in Treasury assumptions about such matters as the distribution of income in America.




"The estimates do not assume changes in what exchanges look like, the cost of insurance, or the number of Americans who will get their insurance in this new marketplace," Treasury spokeswoman Sabrina Siddiqui said in a statement Friday.





Sounds like verbal hocus pocus to me.

Eric Johnson
03-02-2012, 01:19 PM
I don't know how Tri-Care works; ....

The original version of TRICARE was called CHAMPUS, Civilian Health and Medical Program of the Uniformed Services. In it's original form, it was simple and straightforward. There was a co-pay on outpatient visits with an annual cap. There was a co-insurance for inpatient care, dependents paid $25 a day.

In those early days, the military population, both active duty and retired, tended to reside clustered around active installations. CHAMPUS wasn't a large component of the DOD budget. As installations closed and shrank and with an increasingly mobile population, installation medical facilities weren't always able to carry the workload and CHAMPUS costs grew....exploded. As the CHAMPUS budget grew, it became obvious that soon the CHAMPUS component of the DOD budget would be HUGE....maybe even the largest component other than direct personnel cost. In short, we'd spend more for healthcare than for weapons development and procurement and installation maintenance....combined.

There were several reforms in the 1980's and 90's. Principle among these was the re-structuring of the program and renaming it to TRICARE. Here's the basic structure now, although the reserve and guard components are slightly different and I don't have a clue what those differences are.

(from Wikipedia)******
TRICARE Standard
TRICARE Standard provides a similar benefit to the original CHAMPUS program and is available to active duty personnel, retirees from the Active Component, retirees from the Reserve Component age 60 or older, and their eligible family members. Under TRICARE Standard, beneficiaries can use any civilian health care provider that is payable under TRICARE regulations. The beneficiary is responsible for payment of an annual deductible and coinsurance, and may be responsible for certain other out-of-pocket expenses. There is no enrollment fee for TRICARE Standard.

TRICARE Extra
TRICARE Standard beneficiaries can elect to use the TRICARE Extra option by using a civilian health care provider from within the regional contractor's provider network. In this way, TRICARE Extra represents a preferred provider organization (PPO). When using TRICARE Extra, the beneficiary's coinsurance amount is reduced by at least five percentage points. There is no fee for use of the TRICARE Extra benefit other than the coinsurance.

TRICARE Prime
TRICARE Prime is a health maintenance organization (HMO) style plan available to active duty personnel, retirees from the Active Component, retirees from the Reserve Component age 60 or older, and their eligible family members. Under TRICARE Prime, beneficiaries must choose a primary care physician and obtain referrals and authorizations for specialty care. In return for these restrictions, beneficiaries are responsible only for small copayments for each visit (retirees and their families only). There is an annual enrollment fee for TRICARE Prime for military retirees and their family members. There is no enrollment fee for active duty military and their family members.
************

The issue now (and here) is the cost sharing formula...not the eligibilty.

I'm in TRICARE for Life now. This is the TRICARE component that was set up in 2001 for retirees to supplement Medicare. I now carry 3 "policies"...Medicare, BC/BS, and TRICARE for Life.

Eric

Clay Rogers
03-02-2012, 03:04 PM
Police and Firefighters are BOTH unionized, and BOTH do exactly what you described above!!!

Not all police and firefighters are unionized. They provide a great service to this nation and without them we would be in worse shape than we are now, but their sacrifice is nothing compared to a US serviceman. And I bet, if you asked one that has prior military service, they would say the same thing. Oh wait, I am saying the same thing.