Don't Let Congress Raise Military Health Benefits Fees!
Last September, President Obama announced his plan for Economic Growth and Deficit Reduction. Unfortunately, it included the recommendation to increase costs to military families and military retirees for some of their health care benefits. This would be a change to a compensation package that has already been earned.
The president suggested adjusting TRICARE pharmacy co-payments to more closely match those of Federal employee health plans by shifting retail pharmacy from dollar co-payments to percentage co-payments, starting at 10 percent for generic drugs and increasing to 20 percent. Brand name and non-formulary drugs would start with a 15 percent copayment and would rise to 30 percent over time. Mail order generics would be free, but brand drugs would increase to a $20 co-payment and $35 for non-formulary, with each eventually increasing to a $40 co-payment.
Additionally, under the plan, annual fees would be instituted for TRICARE For Life health care, beginning with a $200 annual fee in FY 2013 and would be increased annually if recommended by the Secretary of Defense. This would be above the cost of Part "B" Medicare premiums now being paid, which is means tested.
These changes has been recommended by members of Congress to the Super Committee that is trying to develop a plan to save $1.2 trillion before 11/23/2011.
Furthermore, Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) just recomended that the Super Committee consider a Congressional Budget proposal that suggests eliminating TRICARE Prime as an option for military retirees, and adds new annual enrollment fee to TRICARE Standard, which already has a 25 percent co-payment if used.
Any of these changes would lead to serious health care fee increases affecting both military families and military retirees. The Reserve Officers Association stands by a position that Congress should not default on promises made about health care benefits that were earned as deferred compensation. This is in keeping with ROA National Resolution 10-29 to sustain current benefits.
ROA would like to thank those members who already responded to the warning about this in ROA's 11/09 electronic Reserve Voice, but more letters to Congress are needed.
Please join those ROA members who have written to urge your members of Congress to reject these inappropriate financial penalties. Link to Congressional Letter or use www.roa.org/write_2_congress.
Marshall Hanson, CAPT USNR (ret.)
Reserve Officers Association.