NewsBytes September 1, 2023    

In this issue:
Millions of Vets Eligible for PACT Act Benefits
Resolution, Nov. 12 as National Warrior Call Day
TRICARE Prescriptions Express Scripts App
USMC Reserves Birthday
FRA Closed on Labor Day

VA Claims there are “Potentially Millions” More Vets Eligible for PACT Act Benefits 
The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) recently announced that “potentially millions” more veterans or their survivors could be eligible to receive health care or financial compensation for toxic exposure-related medical conditions newly considered presumptive under the PACT Act, said Steve Miska, PACT Act transitional executive director. The Act’s presumptive aspect “gives us the opportunity to automatically assume, that by virtue of a veteran having this condition, it must be due to their service,” Miska told “That is a game changer in terms of how veterans historically have had to file a claim” for PACT Act conditions: “Not only did they have to prove that those conditions were manifesting, but they also had to prove the service connection.”

Before the enactment of the PACT Act (Aug. 2022), only 25 percent of toxic exposure claims from burn pits were approved. Now the VA claims that 78.6 percent of burn pit claims are approved.  This comprehensive toxic exposure law (PACT Act) presumes a service connection —  provided the veteran served in a certain place at a certain time — for the following conditions related to toxic exposures from burn pits, contaminated water at Marine Corps bases in North Carolina, and the Vietnam-era chemical defoliant, Agent Orange. This FRA-supported law is the largest healthcare and benefits expansion in VA history. 

Veterans or survivors who need help filing a PACT Act claim can walk into a VA regional office to ask for help in person, A regional VA office may offer both in-person and virtual visits. VA staffers at the VA Benefits Hotline (800-827-1000) and VA Health Benefits Hotline (877-222-8387) can also answer questions. 

Resolution to Commemorate Nov. 12, 2023, as National Warrior Call Day
Bi-partisan resolutions have been introduced in the House and Senate (H.R.535, S.R.208) to designate Nov. 12, 2023, as “National Warrior Call Day.” The purpose of National Warrior Call Day is to appeal to all Americans — but especially troops and veterans — to make meaningful contact with those serving or who have served and point them to support if needed.

Supporters believe the day of action can meaningfully reduce isolation, which is often a precursor to suicidal thoughts. A similar version passed the Senate in 2022 by unanimous consent. The effort is supported by seven former Secretaries of Veterans Affairs, and 27 Congressional Medal of Honor recipients.

Supporters understand that it is no panacea for the complex challenges our troops and veterans face, but connection absolutely matters. One call can truly make a difference in the life of another person. These Resolutions asks Americans to make a call to a veteran or servicemember and connect them with support if they need it. 

According to the most recent data from the Department of Veterans Affairs, 6,146 veterans died by suicide in 2020. The unadjusted rate of suicide among U.S. veterans was 31.7 suicide deaths per 100,000, compared to 16.1 per 100,000 for civilians. After adjusting for gender and age, the rate of veteran suicide was 57 percent higher for veterans than for non-veteran adults. Service members and veterans in need of immediate help can reach out to the Veterans Crisis Line by dialing 988 and pressing “1,” or text 838255, or visit 

Members can ask their legislators to support these resolutions online.

Stay on Top of TRICARE Prescriptions with Express Scripts App
Do you need help managing your prescriptions? Express Scripts, the TRICARE pharmacy contractor, has a free, easy-to-use app that can help. The Express Scripts Pharmacy mobile app is a secure way to stay on top of taking your medication. The app is full of useful features. Here’s a look at some of the ways the app can help you.

1. See your prescriptions and order them
Go to “Prescriptions” to find a list of all your prescriptions. From here, you see how much money you can save if you fill your prescription through TRICARE Pharmacy Home Delivery. You can also order your prescription from this menu.

2. Approve your refills
If you need to refill your prescription, you must approve it before Express Scripts will mail it to you. The Express Scripts mobile app makes it easy to approve refills. 

3. Check your order status
Want to keep track of when you’ll get your home delivery prescription? Go to “Recent Orders” to see when your order is placed, processed, shipped, and delivered.

4. Manage delivery address
Need to change your shipping address? You can do this in the app. You can even set up shipments to a temporary address during deployment, relocation, or vacation. Keep in mind that there are some limits to using home delivery overseas. Go to Home Delivery to learn more.

5. Make payments
Go to “Pay a Bill” if you need to pay for your prescription or set up automatic payments for your home delivery orders. TRICARE Costs and Fees Fact Sheet.
Note: You may also be able to get prescriptions from a non-network retail pharmacy. At non-network pharmacies, you’ll pay full price for your prescription. Then you can file a claim for reimbursement. Reimbursements are subject to cost-shares, copayments, deductibles, and other costs.

6. Set dose reminders
Need help remembering to take your prescription? Go to “Dose Reminder” to set up automated reminder alerts. Alerts can be daily, weekly, or monthly.

You can download the Express Scripts Pharmacy mobile app from the Apple App Store or the Google Play Store. The app is free, and you can sign in with your TRICARE Express Scripts username and password. If you don’t have an Express Scripts account, you can create one. To learn more, go to and the TRICARE Express Scripts website. If you have pharmacy questions or need help, call Express Scripts at 877-363-1303.

USMC Reserves Birthday
This week (Aug. 29) marks the 107th birthday of the United States Marine Corps Reserve. As U.S. involvement in World War I appeared more likely, formal creation of an operational Reserve Force, was created on Aug. 29, 1916, when President Woodrow Wilson signed the Naval Appropriations Act of 1916, which established the Marine Corps Reserve. 

FRA NHQ Closed on Labor Day
In observance of the Labor Day Holiday the National Headquarters will be closed on Monday, Sept. 4, 2023.   

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