(Paulding County, Georgia) On Monday, President Obama released a deficit reduction plan proposing military retirees pay a new, annual fee for TRICARE-for-Life. The plan also calls for restructuring TRICARE pharmacy co-payments, and a re-examination of the military’s current retirement system.
For active Air Force members and Veterans in Paulding County; higher Tricare-for-Life fees is not the news they are looking for.
“This plan provides savings of $6.7 billion over 10 years by establishing this “modest annual fee” for members of TRICARE-for-Life, which is a second-payer insurance to military retirees who transition to the federal Medicare program at age 65. The change would begin with a $200 annual fee in fiscal 2013. This is on top of already proposed increases in fees for TRICARE Prime enrollment for military retirees under the age of 65.
The proposed plan would also eliminate co-pays for generic mail-order drugs, while shifting retail co-pays from a dollar amount to a percentage co-pay, a percentage yet undetermined. The change would apply to military families and retirees, but not active duty service members.
The Administration is trying to balance the budget on the backs of those veterans and their families who have served this country in times of war and peace. The budget crisis in which the nation finds itself affects us all, and veterans are willing to share in the pain of cuts. However, AFA firmly believes that it is not right to counter the nation’s reckless and unprecedented spending on the backs of our veterans who have sacrificed for that same nation for many years. It breaks promises made. We find this unacceptable,” the Air Force Association stated.
AFA added, “The benefits that are well-deserved by our veterans help the military retain the personnel needed to uphold an effective force, ready and equipped to fulfill their duties whenever called upon. These are the men and women who carry out our best interests at home and abroad.
Infringing upon the benefits due to them – when they have sacrificed so much – breaks faith with promises upon which they have counted. The Air Force Association opposes such changes and will continue to fight for the rights of our veterans, and support and advocate on behalf of the Air Force and the Air Force family.”
The Air Force Association (AFA) is an independent, nonprofit, civilian education organization promoting public understanding of aerospace power and the pivotal role it plays in the security of the nation. AFA publishes Air Force Magazine, conducts national symposia and disseminates information through outreach programs.