Skip to comments.Tom Coburnís cuts: Militaryís Tricare Prime health care program targeted (deceptive title alert!)
Posted on 07/25/2011 9:02:12 AM PDT by markomalley
Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) wants to cut taxpayer funding for non-military elements of the Defense Department, starting with making retired, uninjured service members pay more for what he described as extremely low-cost health care for life for themselves, their spouses and dependents under the Tricare Prime system.
For military retirees eligible for Medicare, he also wants to raise the co-payments that they are charged to be in Tricare for life, the second payer for health care after Medicare. In addition, he wants to increase low fees that Tricare beneficiaries pay for pharmaceuticals purchased at their local drugstores.
Former defense secretary Robert M. Gates proposed raising Tricare Prime enrollment fees for single retirees from $230 a year to $260 a year and fees for retiree families from $460 a year to $520 a year. Coburn wants the fees to be much higher and more in line with private-sector health plans.
Part of his concern is fairness, first for uninjured veterans who, for example, served in Iraq and/or Afghanistan but leave the military without serving 20 years [and] are not entitled to any of these health-care benefits. They represent some 70 percent of those serving, according to Pentagon officials.
(Excerpt) Read more at washingtonpost.com ...
Disclosure: I am a military retiree who uses Tricare...so this impacts me directly.
As a retiree, I don't really see the issue here. I could, if I chose, get the same health care package other employees at my work receive...but I choose not to, because Tricare is far more lucrative.
The increased prescription prices will suck for me, but that's not that huge an issue.
As for Tricare Prime? From my perspective, that's a major yawn. I would have to travel much farther to go to the nearest military facility than to my own doctor...the only area I would disagree with is for retirees who reside abroad (at least when I was still in, you would have a hard time seeing a doctor overseas if you were not in Prime)
A good part of the reason I stayed in for the entire stretch was because of the retirement package...without it, I probably would have gotten out at the beginning of the dot-com boom (I sure as hell didn't stay in for the generous salary I was paid). And for those who would criticize retirees for sucking off the government teat, I will point out to anybody that we earned it.
Having said that, I don't think that anybody has a right to bitch because his sacred cow is being told to go on a diet.
The only other thing I can say is: I'm willing to suck it up. Can't speak for any other retiree, but you've got to do what you've got to do. However, the friggin bums who did not do a dang thing to earn their checks better be slashed as well.
I am jealous. We pay more than 5K a year for our federal health insurance. That doesn’t include all the deductibles and co-pays.
Thanks for your service and your willingness to personally sacrifice to get your country out of the financial hole.
Unfortunately, Democrats and RINO’s will attempt to rally your fellow veterans to make no change in veteran’s benefits for one cynical reason: to get their votes in the 2012 election.
When I was in the military we were supposed to have free healthcare for life. That was one of the few good things about giving your life to the military service. Toward the end of our service, Tricare was forced on us and the deal was broken with free healthcare for life. Now congress wants to take part of that away too. We can’t keep treating our military like this...it’s not right.
Unfortunately, you are probably right.
Like I said above, I am willing to do what I have to do...provided that I'm not the only one.
considering Coburn’s plan is one of the BEST,
(in some ways better than CCB! it cuts 9 TRILLION !),
this seems rather mild:
“from $230 a year to $260 a year and fees for retiree families from $460 a year to $520 a year.”
for more about his plan:
“This week, Senator Tom Coburn released a 600-page plan that would reduce the deficit by $9 trillion over the next ten years by slashing wasteful spending and eliminating an estimated $1 trillion in tax deductions.
The plan is not a gimmick, it’s not smoke and mirrors, and it’s not a media stunt. “
Same deal with me. I wanted to get out in 95 but the wife wouldn’t approve, so I stayed in until 03 for the retirement. I have Tricare prime and agree with your post.
The military health care system is taking care of more people today than it will in the future. The system supports a dwindling number of WWII veterans and their spouses as well as a significant number of vets and dependents of the Korean and Vietnam/Cold War periods when our personnel end-strength was much greater than it is today or will be for the foreseeable future.
It seems to me this particular "problem" is one that will correct itself over the next 20 years....
I’m LTC. USA. retired.
I’m not quite as accomodating as some here on FR. For one thing we served our country. For some that service included death or maiming. For the rest of us, every day we were on Active or Reserve Duty we were subject to being deployed into harm’s way. So I think there is a bit of difference between a military retirement or a private sector/civil service retirement.
If we were in a situation where everything that could have been done to fix our present economic and gov’t spending problems was done, I would consider looking at military retirement. But the fact is, the idiots in Washington have done nothing but continue spending and screw up the economy.
Also, it should be kept in mind that upon becoming eligible for Medicare, TRICARE becomes the secondary insurance. That aside, telling people who lost limbs and/or eyesight in the service of their country they must now pay out of pocket for their situation strikes me as being the ultimate disrespect.
Congress and their staff members first.
I turn 65 in October and had to sign up for Medicare coverage with Tricare as a second payer. My Medicare will cost me and my wife $110 per month apiece....so I get to pay a lot more money for less coverage than I had. If the government wants to save money on Medicare I will volunteer not to participate. The way the law is written now I don't have that choice.
I resent the fact that I am approaching retirement where my income will be reduced and the government is making me spend a larger percentage of it for less medical coverage. Not only that, I will have Medicare or Obamacare "Death Panels" deciding if I deserve a given medical procedure. I've played by the rules (pretty much) all of my life and now they are moving the goal posts.
SKCM(SS), USN Retired
I wonder how much our Public Trough feeders and their staffs pay? Perhaps their medical coverage should be through the VA or at VA Hospitals...without head of the line privileges.
I wonder how much our Public Trough feeders and their staffs pay? Perhaps their medical coverage should be through the VA or at VA Hospitals...without head of the line privileges.
“The only other thing I can say is: I’m willing to suck it up.”
I’m not willing to suck it up unless and until cuts are made in other areas first.
Welfare cheats and illegal aliens, ACORN, gay penis measurement studies - all good places to start.
Tricare will be swallowed by Obamacare in time, so the point is moot anyway.
Not that big a deal IF congress critters (current and ex) have to do the same thing.
“A medical doctor, Coburn told reporters last Monday: Nobody in the country, as a single person working 20 years for the government, should be able to get health care for $250 a year. Nobody was ever promised that, and nobody should be able to do that.
Instead, he wants to increase the enrollment fee for single retirees to approximately $2,000 per year and $3,500 for a family. At the same time he would limit out-of-pocket expenses at $7,500 for those retirees with families. He thinks these changes could save $11.5 billion a year.”
Not the same as a paltry $30/year increase. Coburn is an a$$hat!
First drop all illegals, all those drug dependent pot heads, convert Politician health care to equal ours, elminate NFS, Humanties, Art, duplicate education programs currently spread through the budget, terminate all future foreign aid to every country who does not support our position, reduce payment to UN, eliminate Peace Corps, America Corps, Earned Income Tax Credit payments. Then I will be glad to accept my share of the cuts.
Almost 50% of tax filers do not pay any income taxes instead get a check from the federal government.
The same thing happened when the previous administration outlawed employer support for Tricare supplement Plans. I worked for a contractor that provided a Tricare supplement because the premium for retired military was FAR, FAR less than the contribution to the HMO. We got the Tricare deductible picked up and the company save a ton of $$ without us on their rolls.
With an enrollment fee of $3500 it may well be less expensive to use employee HC, but that's not really the point is it? We retirees had at least an understanding with the government. I don't have a problem with reasonable fee increases, but increasing by a factor of nearly 10X is criminal!
Active Duty/Retiree Ping.
I agree with you Colonel, and I take exception to Senator Coburn’s following statement. Nobody in the country, as a single person working 20 years for the government, should be able to get health care for $250 a year. Nobody was ever promised that, and nobody should be able to do that.
With all due respect to the senator those who served in the United States Armed Forces for 20 years most certainly should get health care and yes we were promised that.
It truly sucks, our Navy base is a pencil pusher, and no hospital, no docs for retired. These are part of the benefits a career Military man or woman were PROMISED to keep them in 20 years who work for below national average wages for all those 20 years.
We are having a hard enough time finding docs that will take Tricare/Medicare now. And at 71 multiple health issues you don’t just go out and find a job that has medical benefits.
Now the gov’t wants to renege on it’s promises...because we have bailed out to many other countries, to many banks, car plants, and illegals, and all this green and homosexual agendas.
And it is administered out of the SAME office.
0 is wanting to cut 3,000 CPO’s. What is he wanting to cut man power wise from the other branches. These mid ranks are the glue and training of the young enlisted.
I agree with you 100%. But then we are dealing with a Military hating Marxist.
I also retired an use Tricare Prime. To me it’s just another example of trusting the government and finding out it is untrustworthy. I was promised free healthcare for life if I did my twenty and that was a pipe dream well before I retired. Keep trusting the government to take care of you and you’ll end up.....about where the country is headed right now.
I’m a retired submarine COB getting along on medicare/tricare for life and would not appreciate this great an increase in cost. The term Tricare-for-Life indicates that the government owes it’s military retirees healthcare for their entire life. Now they want to renege? That said, I wouldnt mind some shared sacrifice (but not to the extent the senator proposes) if the government was really serious and did the same for themselves and at the same time eliminated all the freeloaders in our system first. For all you bubble heads out there, remember this WE DO IT DEEPER because WE HAVE BIGGER BALLS! For all you non submariners that means we serve underwater and when we’re home we enjoy taking our better halves to the Submarine Ball.
“Almost 50% of tax filers do not pay any income taxes instead get a check from the federal government.’
And the IRS even spent money on radio ads to alert people who hadn’t filed that they might be eligible for stimulus checks.
I am retired LtCol, USAF.
I have Tri-Care like every other retiree but I also have private medical insurance from a major blue-chip company.
Excellent coverage that the company is looking at dropping completely. Reason? Obama. It is cheaper to drop my coverage and pay the one-time fine than to keep the coverage.
I use Tri-Care as secondary payee. Like doing that because my current coverage allows me greater freedom than options than Tri-Care, too include not having to go through that ridicules “referral” system if you need top see a specialist.
For example, foot problem, must make appointment with Tri-Care doc (at least a week or so wait, maybe a lot more), then see the doc who says, “yup, you need to see a foot doc.” Then contact the Tri-Care selected foot doc specialist to make an appointment. . .another few weeks wait.
Under my current coverage I pick the doc I want, go where I want, next door or 1,000 mile away, be seen quickly for non-ER illness, no worries. . .except Obama wants to take that care and freedom away from me.
Have congress cut discretionary spending in real terms for 2-yrs with no tax increase, then let's talk.
Two thoughts on this.
First, I lost all real trust in the government keeping their promises when they changed around the retirement system back in the 80s. It's like they always say, if it ain't in writing on the contract, don't believe it. After that point in time, I recognized that any promises we are made are contingent upon, not only the Congress that is in power at the time of our enlistment, but all future Congresses.
Second, when I first retired, I used insurance from my employer. And I realized exactly how expensive it was. Frankly, even with the changes Coburn is proposing, Tricare (Standard) is so dramatically much cheaper than any competitor I've seen, there is no comparison. I'm just thankful that they are not proposing cutting it off wholesale (I was concerned that the 111th Congress would have done that and said, "you can go to the Obamacare insurance exchange").
Don't get me wrong, I don't like the thought of paying more for prescriptions. I don't like a higher deductible (I'm on Tricare Standard, so the annual premium doesn't apply to me). But I also know that this is partially responsible for the debt. And while I don't want to be the only one having to suck it up, I know that if everybody agrees that everybody else needs to suck it up and I am unwilling to do part, then I don't have a very strong case.
Do you need directions to your local recruiters office?
Until then, I'm not interested.
Uhhhhh....I hate to break it to you, but Tricare for life is a relatively recent program (2001). Prior to that, they shucked 65 y/o retirees on Medicare, as CHAMPUS/TRICARE stopped at age 65.
I don't know about triple or quadruple. Double is enough for my taste.
But that's the idea. I don't mind having, once again, to suck it up...provided I'm not the only one.
At that time, your “free healthcare for life” will start costing you MEDICARE premiums (part A/B) and will be means-tested, so if yu have another job or are still working, MEDICARE may may start costing you over $2000 a year in MEDICARE premiums (as ours do, since we still work ... AND pay MEDICARE tax .... AND pay MEDICARE premiums ... and that's for one of us)
Them you will also pay your deductible for the secondary insurance, TRICARE for life (which is now $150 per person, $300 per family but calculated on TRICARE permissible charges which are waaay lower than what doctors charge
I know my family of four uses TRICARE for Life (and one of us uses MEDICARE) and we pay several thousand a year in doctor bills and medication costs after insurance...plus of course, our unwelcome retirement gift from Uncle of MEDICARE premiums costing approx $2000 a year.
One kid needs a specialist and we can't find any doc within 50 miles who takes TFL. The referring doc (who we paid $2500 cash to see) said “no one takes TFL because it doesn't pay enough”
Medications alone now cost us almost $1000 per year.
So, our “free healthcare for life” promised by our employer, actually costs us about our 4rd greatest expense after mortgage and taxes, and utilities.
Dental is another $1200 per year, plus paying the excess not covered, Thank God the kids have good teeth.
This is now- Coburn is talking about raising this
I bet he has no personal experience with real retired military people and uses the hypothetical example that a family is getting all their medical needs for $460 a year. The press manages to find such people, no wonder they are all jiggy with raising the rates.
Well, we'll take Coburn’s medical plan. How about that? I bet he even has a special phone line to Bethesda, sure would be nice to know we could get in there..
In exchange for 49 years of military service between two of us, I think we should qualify, Mr Coburn.
As we both know, if there was any seriousness about cutting the deficit, they would be looking at cutting 500-750 Billion from the 2012 budget - except, of course, the Senate hasn’t even passed the 2011 Budget.
All this talk about cutting $1,000 Billion over 10 years is phooey! It won’t happen. In 2009, the CBO was forecasting the 2011 deficit at half of its current size, so their projections mean nothing - even IF future Congresses honored them!
This is just a chance to go after the military. It has no connection to actually doing anything about the deficit. But if they want to look at trimming the 2012 Budget by $750 Billion, then they are welcome to look at my health benefits.
And I figure they are going to renege on paying my retirement check in the next few years. So all of this will be irrelevant. I have heard talk about cutting retirement pay for those under 62 (so neither of you two would be impacted).
I am just thankful for what I've got. And I don't count on having it tomorrow.
I know that Tom Coburn is a true conservative who is genuinely looking to fix our debt crisis. However, the problem with many others like him is they could have used a little military experience. Because the principles that are found in the military are not genuinely found elsewhere.
For instance, Obama talks about shared sacrifices yet he is gearing up for his vacation on Martha’s vineyard. One of the little things that is taken for granted in the Marine Corps could be used as a teaching tool to a lot of these clowns. When out in the field and chow comes, it is axiomatic that privates eat first, then the PFC etc.. up through the NCOS, SNOS and Officers last. I’m willing to stand and wait my place in line as a staff NCO. However, I damn well better see all the officers (i.e. congresscritters) behind me in the chow line. These clowns don’t realize how much goodwill they could engender by cutting their pay and benefits before they ask everyone else to suck it up. Instead they all vote to raise their pay and deny they want to do it.
If anyone complains about the military retirement, I always say first: “Nothing stopped you from joining.” Why didn’t they join? Because it’s hard. It’s hard being gone months and years at a time. It’s a hard price for a spouse and kids to pay. It’s tough being on call 365/24/7.
They didn’t do it, because it’s difficult.
My next response is: The military is mentioned in the US Constitution. It should be. Defense is the basic reason for the existence of government. It’s why the President’s “Commander and Chief” authority was granted in the first place. Why have a Cinc, if you’ve got no military?
And, if you’ve got a military, then you’ve got to pay them. If you want a first rate military, and you’d better, then you’d also better offer first rate pay.
And given that many avoid military service because it’s difficult (see reason #1 above), then that pay must be sufficient to attract quality people.
The government has always had problems doling out huge salaries to the military, so they’ve deferred pay by offering special deferred incentives: education, loan guarantees, medical coverage, and etc.
In my opinion, Senator Coburn should NOT be touching the deferred pay of the military. They’ve ALREADY earned it.
They should keep their stinking fingers off of it. Let them take something from Welfare Charley who hasn’t done a damn thing for the country since the day he was born before they EVER think of taking something our awesome military has ALREADY earned. And earned it the hard way.
You’re damn straight I’m hard about this. Any idiot politician such as Coburn who groups the military alongside the welfare clientele should be impeached just for the thought.
I agree 100%.
Coburn can bite the big weenie. Oklahoma Freepers really need to consider losing this guy.
I hope you can continue your blue chip insurance. Medicare is OK as far as it goes. But it seems to me I’m treated differently than people like yourself. I think it’s because of the low Medicare fees. One of my doctors sees everybody in the waiting room before seeing me. Some of them come in 10 or 15 minutes after me.
By the way, I don’t in any way begrudge your situation.
Yes, I hope I can keep what I have, makes life easier and simpler, and yes, I find I am treated much nicer by the appointment people, receptionists and doctors when I get an appointment.
The treatment I received when I was seeing “network” doctors when on active duty, and for a short time after retirement and on Tri-Care only, was like being a second class citizen. They didn't care because they didn't get the big bucks from Tri-Care.
Must admit, I like the freedom and the treatment. I am fortunate and obama wants to take it away from me.
It’s a matter of social justice, you know. No one should have more than anyone else. Because even the Marxists realize they cannot provide premium health care everyone ends up equally miserable.
What a wonderful Marxist world to look forward to.