[Vision2020] BULL***T ! ! !
thansen at moscow.com
Mon Feb 2 06:21:24 PST 2015
Is this what happens under a Republican-controlled congress?
Privatization of health care insurance for military retirees?????
If it works, DON'T FIX IT ! ! !
I am a disabled retiree (with a service-connected disability rated at 45%). I would HATE to have to pay commercial health insurance premiums . . . and hope I am covered if I should ever have to be admitted to the hospital.
Courtesy of the Army Times.
Commission Calls for Abolishing TriCare
A congressional commission has called for an overhaul of the military health system that does away with Tricare, changes the medical command structure and seeks to improve Defense Department coordination with Veterans Affairs.
The goal of the Military Compensation and Retirement Modernization Commission’s plan according to its final report released Jan. 29, is to preserve the quality of combat care that saved many troops’ lives in Iraq and Afghanistan but also improve access to health treatment for those who use the system.
Under the recommendations, active- duty members and mobilized reservists still would receive medical care from the U.S. military, with easier access to specialty care in the civilian sector if they need it.
But their family members, and retirees under 65 and their families, would be covered through commercial insurers, similar to plans run under the Federal Employee Health Benefits Program.
Active-duty families would get an allowance to cover their insurance premiums, called the Basic Allowance for Health Care.
Retirees below Medicare-eligible age would pay their premiums out of pocket, though at a lower cost thancivilianplansas“recognition” of their service, under the plan.
The program would be run from the Office of Personnel Management, just as the FEHBP is, negating the need for the huge Tricare contract management and oversight structure that exists in the Pentagon, according to the report.
But this would not be FEHBP, commission members stressed, because that program doesn’t offer options appropriate for military beneficiaries with their unique requirements, including the availability of military treatment facilities and readiness demands, the commission wrote.
“By moving toward private insurance, beneficiaries of the plan would have improved access to health care. ... It also solves some of the issues with mobilization and place monthly pension checks with 401(k)-style investment accounts. That suggested the government contributions should be at least 16.5 percent of basic pay, with higher rates for deployed service members or high-demand career f ields.
That plan went nowhere after it was criticized by troops, disavowed by the Pentagon leadership and landed with a thud on Capitol Hill.
Last March, the Pentagon’s personnel and readiness office broke its long silence and offered several detailed and complex alternatives to the current system: hybrid options that included both a TSP with government contributions and smaller, partial pension checks before traditional retirement age.
That plan also included some lump-sum payments for troops staying at least 20 years, offering a “transitionpay”equaltoasmuchas three years’ basic pay.
The nine-member commission is chaired by Maldon. Other members include Pressler, Dov Zakheim, Edmund Giambastiani, Peter Chiarelli, Bob Kerrey, Christopher Carney, Michael Higgins and Stephen Buyer. N care they now have, under the plan.
The commission also recommends that DoD create a four-star Joint Readiness Command that would lead much of the portion of the Joint Staff that is responsible for readiness. This structure, commissioners said, would improve coordination across the services in treatment, transportation and care for injured and ill troops.
“Joint readiness today is at a high level because we’ve just been through more than a decade of war. This seeks to preserve that function,” Daigle said.The commission also suggests changes to programs for beneficiaries with special needs, to more closely align them with state Medicaid programs — something advocates have sought in recent years.
The commission also called for improving coordination between DoD and VA health services, to include creating a uniform drug formulary for smooth transition of prescriptions, establishing standard reimbursement and completing the effort to create a joint electronic health record system.
The report estimates changes to the health programs could cut the Pentagon budget by $26.5 billion from fiscal 2016 to fiscal 2020 and save $6.7 billion a year by 2033.
Unlike the retirement portion of the report, which would apply only to new recruits, the health care portion of the recommendations would affect all family members, retirees and their families — except for those on Tricare For Life — once signed into law.
Joyce Raezer, executive director of the National Military Family Association, said she polled 20 military spouses shortly after the report was released and said most were “intrigued” by the recommendations, particularly the prospect of greater choice.
“Generally, the option for choice in this arrangement ... they like that. The Tricare bureaucracy is cumbersome,” Raezer said.
But spouses added they would need help understanding their options and choosing plans, and they also wondered how such a system would work across state lines and overseas.
“The biggest concern is about education,” Raezer said. “We have been educating the whole country about health care with the Affordable Care Act right now. This means we’d need to educate retirees and family members
Seeya 'round town, Moscow, because . . .
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