Skip to comments.Officials explain proposed health plan increase, costs (DOD - TRICARE)
Posted on 01/07/2011 1:46:58 PM PST by Racehorse
Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates is seeking modest premium increases for working-age military retirees who use the TRICARE Prime health plan.
Secretary Gates unveiled sweeping cost-cutting initiatives Jan. 6, including a recommendation to increase TRICARE Prime premiums for working-age retirees in fiscal 2012, the first increase in the plan's 15-year history.
"For some time, I've spoken about the department's unaffordable health costs, and in particular the benefits provided to working-age retirees under the TRICARE program," the secretary told reporters.
"Many of these beneficiaries are employed full-time while receiving their full pensions, and often forego their employers' health plan to remain with TRICARE," he said. "This should not come as a surprise, given that the current TRICARE enrollment fee was set in 1995 at $460 a year for the basic family plan, and has not been raised since."
Secretary Gates noted the dramatic increase in insurance premiums during that period for private-sector and other government employees. Federal workers pay roughly $5,000 a year for a comparable health insurance program, he said.
"Accordingly, with the fiscal year 2012 budget, we will propose reforms in the area of military health care to better manage medical cost growth and better align the department with the rest of the country," Secretary Gates said. "These will include initiatives to become more efficient, as well as modest increases to TRICARE fees for ... working-age retirees, with fees indexed to adjust for medical inflation."
These initiatives could save the department as much as $7 billion over the next five years, he said.
Military retirees automatically are enrolled in one of two TRICARE plans, program spokesman Austin Camacho explained. Retirees who join TRICARE Prime, the system's managed-care option that covers active-duty members, pay an annual enrollment fee of $230 per year for an individual or $460 for a family. Those in TRICARE Standard, a fee-for-service plan, pay no enrollment fee or premium. Instead, they pay a yearly deductible of $150 per person or $300 per family, as well as co-payments or cost shares for inpatient and outpatient care and medications, up to a $3,000 annual cap on out-of-pocket expenses.
TRICARE Prime, the managed-care option that covers all active-duty members and many retirees, costs the government $4,202 per beneficiary per year, said Mr. Camacho. TRICARE Standard, the program's fee-for-service plan, costs $3,584 per beneficiary per year. TRICARE for Life, for beneficiaries age 65 and older, costs the government $3,874 per patient per year.
Military retirees are not required to report whether they have jobs that offer insurance plans, Mr. Camacho said, noting that having other insurance does not take them off the TRICARE rolls. Rather, he explained, TRICARE becomes the "second payer" for health care, picking up co-payments and deductibles from the primary insurance plan.
Meanwhile, the senior TRICARE officer told American Forces Press Service the system is poised to support Secretary Gates' new efficiency measures and already is making progress as it strives to provide the best health care at the best cost.
"All of these things help us work together to help us achieve the secretary's goals, and we are already starting to make progress," Navy Rear Adm. (Dr.) Christine S. Hunter said.
Dr. Hunter cited several initiatives already bearing fruit. More beneficiaries are using the lower-cost mail-order pharmacy option to fill prescriptions. They are getting their immunizations and increasingly participating in a new concept called "patient-centered medical homes" that provide more comprehensive and personalized health care. They are making greater use of online appointment services and health care education materials. And they are increasingly using expensive emergency-room services only for actual emergencies.
"We need to be very aware that there is a pressure [to improve efficiency and control costs] and the resources are not infinite," said Dr. Hunter. "But we are all part of the solution."
Great. Meanwhile our emergency rooms are clogged with illegal immigrants and indigents. I could just puke.
That bastard Gates is at it again. There will be a special place in Hell for him, once he moves on. Which can’t happen soon enough for me.
Once again the military can be used to show the efficiency of our corrupt government. Chip away at the last potential defenders of our Constitution.
Gates has to be the second worst Sec of Def of all time...
Third, I do no get paid much right now and if I took the POS health benefit from my employer I would literally get about $175 per week after the deduction and still have to pay a huge deductible. At least my deductibles in Tricare Prime are manageable.
As we give 6 billion a year to the UN. I prefer making huge cuts to not only the UN but to all foreign aid first.
When the average Federal Employee makes the same money as our troops then you can compare costs!
Plus, don’t even get me started on illegals and their costs regarding healthcare!!!!
You are entitled to your healtcare, you wrote the check and sacrificed for all of us. I don’t have any problem with my taxes going to take care of you.
To compare what the average Federal employee pays vs our troops is insulting!!!
I used to think Cohen and McNamara were the worst SecDefs of all time.
Obviously, I was wrong.
“working age” retirees to pay more for their “free healthcare for life” (just sign in the dotted line) because..well..they are “working age”
meanwhile the “working age” welfare classes in their teens and 20’s and 30’s pay nothing for their healthcare because..well...they aren’t working, are they
meanwhile the “working age” welfare classes in their teens and 20’s and 30’s pay nothing for their healthcare because..well...they aren't working, are they
until we start producing REAL MEN military leaders again, we'll have to suffer these perfumed princes and their limosine liberal mamby pamby attitudes...
Those over 65 will be next on his list.
DoD Budget 2012: Pay and TRICARE
he Secretary of Defense, Robert Gates, is making the rounds talking about his proposed FY2012 budget. Although currently light on details, the news seems good for military pay and benefits, but, not-so-good for military retirees who rely on TRICARE.
Military Pay and Benefits Defense Secretary Gates plans to cut troops in order to cut costs. The troop level cuts are not to start until 2015, but this does reflect Gates earlier statements about looking at cutting troops before cutting pay and benefits.
TRICARE On the other hand, Sec. Gates has stated that he is seeking changes to the militarys TRICARE medical program, noting that fees have not risen since the program replaced CHAMPUS in 1995. He said he is proposing modest increases to fees for working-age military retirees.
Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.