MOAA Alert 18 May 2012
Senate Champions Offer TRICARE Bill. Senators Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ) and Marco Rubio (R-FL) have introduced a new, bipartisan bill to prevent unfair TRICARE fee hikes.
House Acts on Defense Bill. After slogging through more than 140 amendments, the House of Representatives should finish work on the FY2013 Defense Authorization Act (which addresses health care, pay, Guard/Reserve issues and more) today.
House Leaders Hear MOAA Priorities. More than a dozen of the House’s Democratic leaders hosted a meeting with military and veterans’ association leaders this week.
Senate Champions Offer TRICARE Bill.
Senators Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ) and Marco Rubio (R-FL) joined forces this week to introduce a bi-partisan bill to stop unfair TRICARE fee hikes for military beneficiaries.
Their “Military Health Care Protection Act of 2012” (S. 3203) would:
• Acknowledge that servicemembers pre-pay significant healthcare premiums through decades of service and sacrifice, over and above what they pay in cash
• Limit the annual percentage increase in cash fees (including pharmacy copays, TRICARE Standard deductible, and the cap on annual out-of-pocket expenses) to the percentage increase in military retired pay
• Bar any further increase in the existing TRICARE Standard retiree inpatient copay of $708 per day, recognizing that the current amount is plenty high enough
• Specify that should the Defense Department establish an enrollment system for TRICARE Standard, any eligible beneficiary filing a claim must be automatically enrolled until they opt to dis-enroll. (This is to ensure beneficiaries who fail to get the word about any new Standard enrollment system don’t have their claims rejected for failure to enroll -- e.g., in the event of a serious vehicle accident.)
“We’re grateful for Sen. Lautenberg’s and Sen. Rubio’s leadership in introducing this bill to protect uniformed services beneficiaries from disproportional TRICARE fee increases,” said MOAA President VADM Norb Ryan (USN-Ret).
“Repeated proposals to raise their healthcare fees by up to $2,000 a year have been extremely unsettling to the military community. The Lautenberg-Rubio bill would restore a much-needed sense of stability for this core career retention incentive.”
Because the bill was introduced only yesterday, no electronic link is available yet. Look for an alert in next week’s legislative update to urge your Senators to cosponsor this critical piece of legislation.
For more information go to http://www.moaa.org/.