5-17-2013

Protect Beneficiaries Forced Out of TRICARE Prime

Rep. John Kline (Minn.) introduced legislation (H.R. 1971) that would require the Defense Department (DoD) to offer the TRICARE Prime managed health care option in places where DoD plans to discontinue the program on October 1, 2013. The Pentagon announced earlier this year that TRICARE Prime Service Areas (PSA) will be limited to within 40 miles of active or former military bases, a move that will force 173,000 retirees and family members to switch to TRICARE Standard.

In a prepared statement, Kline said "Promises made should be promises kept and the Pentagon should not break faith with our nation's heroes." The legislation would help TRICARE Prime beneficiaries on a fixed income who might not be able to afford the extra cost associated with TRICARE Standard and "reduce the immediate impact imposed by the new policy by allowing military retirees to make informed decisions on how to best utilize their military retirement health care benefits while they consider future life decisions."

The PSA change is viewed by beneficiaries as a reduction in earned benefits and FRA believescurrent TRICARE Prime beneficiaries who live in impacted areas should have continued access to TRICARE Prime coverage until they re-locate or change their current primary care provider. The Association has expressed this concern in recent congressional testimony and in meetings with legislators and their staff. FRA’s National Board of Directors (NBOD) also raised this issue during recent Capitol Hill visits on April 25, 2013.

Members are urged to use the FRA Action Center to ask their representative to support this important legislation.