Government

Why is TRICARE different from other retiree health care benefits? It’s not.

Senators act to block to hikes in veterans Tricare health care costs.

Individuals who retire after a long career in the military are no different from any other retiree.  Keep in mind we are not talking about health care for wounded or disabled soldiers.  We are talking about the benefits provided to retirees just like retirees from any government job.  As of two years ago, TRICARE participants had not had an increase in their premiums for fifteen years.  All past efforts to manage these costs (just like your employer manages your costs) have been thwarted by members of Congress.

Let’s think about this, the proposal would increase premiums for a family up to $820 a year or $68.33 a month.  How many retirees do you know who pay only $68.33 a month for health benefits? And keep in mind that many of these retirees are employed after retiring from the military and with health benefits from another employer.

A bipartisan effort to stave off President Obama’s plan to boost health-care premiums for certain active and retired military personnel has been introduced by U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Miami, and Sen. Frank Lautenberg, D-N.J.

Those enrolled in the Tricare Prime program would see annual fees for retired families — currently $520 — jump to as much as $820 starting Oct. 1 and to $2,048 within five years

The fees would be based on military retiree’s pay amount.

Those in the Tricare Standard program would be hit with new annual enrollment fees of $70 for an individual and $140 for family coverage, and slight increases to their deductibles.

Why is TRICARE different?

4 replies »

  1. Yup, I retired in 2006 after 43 devoted years at AlliedSignal/Honeywell with the agreement of retiree healthcare partly paid for by the company. In 2010 we received a “Dear Retiree” letter advising that they would not longer provide Group Healthcare Insurance to retirees on Medicare. So needed to get a new Secondary insurance. Turns out I got a better insurance than that contributed by Honeywell.

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  2. “Individuals who retire after a long career in the military are no different from any other retiree.”

    Well, if you’re going to be wrong, likely it’s best to get it over with in the first sentence or two.

    Military retirees ARE different from civilian retirees. Different, because they were promised, they were guaranteed, free health care for life if they served twenty years or more and were honorably discharged. It was a recruiting enticement, it was in the media, it was well known by presidents, members of congress and by all entering military service.

    When I joined the navy in April 1945, I was told that after serving 20 years and being honorably discharged, I would receive a pension of half my base pay, with an increase of 2.5% for each year over 20. And that I would also have free health care for life upon retirement.

    When it became obvious that free health care was not forthcoming, a group of military retirees brought suit. The U.S. Supreme Court stated that no authority at the time had made the promise, that congress passed no such law. The Court added, however, it felt the nation had a moral obligation to honor the promise, and thus, finally, the promise was kept, TRICARE was born.

    Some claim we have the right to free health care. Hogwash. Nobody has such a right. No more than they have a right to a good home, a good job, a yacht or two. But we should be able to expect a promise to be kept.

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    • And why is that any different than the same type of promises made to millions of other employees and retirees in the private sector and government? Many workers were promised retiree medical and a certain pension only in the face of cost pressures for the plan sponsor to see those benefits erode or disappear altogether. “Promises” that cannot afford to be kept, are not real promises.

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