Cut in TRICARE Dr. Pay Stopped

The Military Officers Association of America is reporting that Congress averted the 25 percent cut in TRICARE (and Medicare) doctor payments that was set for January 1 – by putting TRICARE on life support until January 1, 2012.

Several groups, including and MOAA members, pressured the House and Senate to agree to a one-year stay of the 25 percent cut in TRICARE payments to doctors. Although the battle to keep the rates at current levels has been won, the war over TRICARE payment cuts is far from over. The payment rates drop by 30 percent on January 1, 2012 if nothing is done to correct the underlying problem, the statutory payment formula.

If Congress fails to come up with a real fix, these payment cuts are likely to result in fewer doctors being willing to take on TRICARE patients or participate as TRICARE Primary Care Providers.

Let Congress know how you feel about this issue.

About the Author

Terry Howell
Before becoming the Managing Editor for, Terry served 20 years in the U.S. Coast Guard as an Aviation Electrician’s Mate and aircrewman. In his final role in the Coast Guard, Terry served as a Career Development Advisor, where he provided career, finance, education, and benefits counseling to servicemembers and their families. Since retiring from the Coast Guard, Terry has authored the book, The Military Advantage, managed the content for TurboTap, the DoD's online transition program and VAforVets, the VA's transition assistance website. Terry earned both his Bachelor's and MBA at Corban University using Military Tuition Assistance and his GI Bill benefits to help cover the cost.
  • ROB

    A cut in Tri-care funds appears to reflect our concern and commitment to those that put their lives on the line daily.Keep in mind,the families of our brave men and women are at risk of a much reduced standard of living. A soldier on the battlefield should know that we care about his family and their well being,a family of a disabled or deceased veteran should know ,we care…

    • Capricorn42

      Upon in enlistment every enlistee should be briefed before raising his right hand what to expect in return for putting their lifes in harms way,sperated form love ones, . Those that plan to stay in for 20yrs won’t be able to recieve their retirment pay until their sixty some yrs. Will have to pay for all medical care,especially for spouses/families, If applying for unemployment, at what rate will it be determined , may apply for veterans benefits, but will have to prove what medical problems is he applying for or conditions while on active duty. As President Lincoln said: “To bind up the Nation’s wounds; To care for him who shall have borne the battle, and for his widow,and his orphan.” A promise made long ago.

  • retired462

    When is congress going to take a good hard look at THEIR healthcare program, and make some tough choices to save our country some money? Next time you send an e-mail to a member of congress ask them that question, or maybe even better, ask why they don’t consider the TRICARE program instead of the greatest healthcare plan on earth, that they have now!

    • craigoc

      Its simple they only car about themselves. They are not public servants politicians are all about how much can I get as long as I am at the white house.

    • Jeri Atkin

      I agree completely. I wonder why the media doesn’t ask some searing Perhaps they are cautioned that there will be no interview if certain subjects are brought up.

  • Orion

    Apparently some still believe that being in the Military makes one an employee of the Gov –Not so ….You are a contract employee for the term of your enlistment and as such work for the DOD—Check it out

    • bHAGAN


      • steve

        Why the name callig, just giving him the heads-up is just fine….

    • mpnco

      Contract employees are still employees. The contract here defines a relationship between parties and specifies a value exchanged for the time period specified. It is agreed to by the service secretary, on behalf of the President. POTUS as the CIC of the military, is ultimatly who employs service members, but our funds are divided up and come from the DOD, which is..a branch of the federal gov. an employee for the DOD is the same as an employee for DSHS, as is DHS, all are fed gov employees

    • Cankicker

      Orion is correct, we are not government employees.
      I now have a federal job in DC, and found out that after 20 years of military service, I have to “buy-in” to the federal government for benefits during my military service.
      In 1983 the federal government abolished the pensioned Civilian Service Retirement System (CSRS) for the current Federal Employees Retirement System (FERS).
      I enlisted in 1977, and retired in 1997. I shortly thereafter got a federal job. i can “buy-in” to FERS (401k) to add my years of service as a fed, but I still do not qualify for the CSRS system because I was “military” not a govenment employee. You (we) are not considered government (federal) employees.
      Had I know back then that we are NOT equal, I would have terminated my enlistment in 1983, applied for a governmnet job, and now retire with a HUGE (I repeat) a HUGE federal pension instead of my scrawny military pension (+-$66k a year vs. $20k).

  • Izzy

    Yes, eliminate the government sponsored TRICARE and let GIs enjoy the far superior treatment of the free market at their own expense.

    • steve

      What in the world are you talkng about? Where did you come up with that idea as a positive action for this major problem. I can only see priority preferences instead of those of the Military active and reired. Correct me, if I’m wrong, isn’t this arrticle strictly the retiree being trampled this time????

    • Tired of Whiny CIV

      Izzy, what are you doing on our site trash talking about what kind of healthcare GIs should pay for? This is MILITARY.COM not WHINY_CIVLIAN.COM. Those who have and never will serve, be it for whatever reason (scared, too fat, can’t score high enough on the ASVAB, psychologically challenged) it has been the GI that has afforded you the freedoms you enjoy, which just seems to be complain about “how good” the GI has it. Last I checked, AMERICA is protected by an “All Volunteer Force”…. and GI’s are tired of ‘volunteering’ to be the world police for pennies while you fat cats sit around and name call from your perch on the sideline. Unless you plan to pony up and get in the game, this GI wishes you would take the right you’ve been given by my service and go complain on some other venue.

    • Judith Harders

      I am reading this as sarcasm. Having been in the free market for many years and for the last 11 years received the superior services of Tricare as a result of my having married a retired army officer, I cannot speak highly enough of the quality of the quality of care I have received. I have to believe this comment reflects real knowledge of the difference between private care and Tricare.

  • Huey

    A perfect solution….drop Tricare and move everyone now covered, or guaranteed to be covered, to the Congresssional health care program. If their’s is so good, cost effective and not vulnerable to change in difficult times then we obviously deserve it as well.

    • steve

      Now! there’s the perfect solution, in fact instead of Tricare for Life, Congress should have made it part of THEIR HEALTHCARE PROGRAM…..
      Thanks Huey kudos for your thinking…..

      • Armyguy

        O.K. here is the solution. Lets make military service a requirement. Starting with all the politicians grandkids. Then they might care more about the active duty soldiers, veterans. Think about it what has been talked about lately. First cut military pay now its cut tricare not sure but I am starting to see a pattern. Wait when 9/11 happened the politician sure were ok with putting us in harms way.-Disabled Army Veteran

        • Kelly

          What makes folks think that the military doesn’t pay for their healthcare? Military, retired and active duty, pay taxes and taxes are used to fund DOD and the DOD provides the Tricare. Maybe the “premium” fee isn’t as much for some as is for the civilian sector but I think the trump card here is that these folks have put their lives on the line and a vast percentage of the civilian sector has not.

          And military retirees pay federal taxes on their retirement checks too. After 18 years service (enlisted) – I have retired for about 16 years – my retirement check is about 958 a month of which the feds take about 100 for taxes – so don’t think most military retirees are making a mint here. Plus our COLA is tied to the same formula as Social Se curity so we have not gotten a COLA raise for last year or the upcoming year. COurse ya know Congress will get their raise!

  • Ronald Deshong

    What happened to the obligation of protecting this country against foreign and domestic, as many of us have done for the freedom of the same people who want to cut our medical. Why don’t those people take a minute and think back of what would they have if we were not there, so much for their pay raises and expenses and all the benefits thet recieve now, what a life they would have! Give us what we have earned and deserve! R.D. USAF Retired

  • Jim Miller

    Why not simply move ALL military personnel and their families, into the Federal Employees Health Benefits Programs? This move, regardless of military status, Active, Reserve, Guard or Retiree would serve two functions. Close down Tri-Care, thereby eliminating those costs, add more funds to FEHB due to the increased enrollments and simplify the entire medical plans issue. All you would have to add is a provision that the FEHB plans MUST and WILL cover military members and their families REGARDLESS of where the member is located, ie: war zone; so the plans do not/can not claim no coverage for family members due to the deployment of the service member. Members of the military ARE federal employees, so the FEHB should be the system they are under. Then design the FEHB and MEDICARE to be set up as Tri-Care for Life and Medicare are currently, so ALL service members and their families over the age of 65 remain fully covered as now.

    • Dan

      Why not turn every aspect of health to your local VA Hospital and let them give you the care.

      • Kelly

        Have you been any of the understaffed and underfunded VA Hospitals lately? Make a visit and see if you think this is still a sound ides.

    • Capricorn42

      I am a retired civil servant and military, I choose Tricare for Life, which I have earned and payed for, FEHB can be very expensive in comparison to the Tricare Prime or for Tricare for life Program. I can still get some care from the Military, prescriptions, and specialty clinic’s. At age 67 I still have to pay co-payments. Those who didn’t retire,but put their time in the military, it would be a good idea as you described it.

    • Cankicker

      FEHB is not a managed service such as TRICARE. It is a federal employee benefit where the government pays a portion, and you choose your health provider. The costs associated with choosing your own health provider are enormous! Tricare has been a cost saving blessing while active duty, and now retired using prime. My wife is on Medicare, and supplementing with Tricare for life, and all costs are covered. Not a penny out of my pocket. Be careful what you wish for….
      I cannot stress enough that as much as we would like to be considered federal employees, we are not considered as such. We sign term contarcts under DOD and therefore as seen as “contractors”. This is how they screw us out of benefits we should enjoy across the board with the rest of the federal government (see my other post to Orion’s comments).

  • served with pride

    we vets just seem to sat on our behinds and do alot of talking ,I think its time we started showing the govt we mean busness at the voting poles .I think its time we (vets) start standing together and showing our power at poles. we have the numbers to really make our voices felt in washington ,its time to show people everywhere we mean business.

    • Nonag

      LOL! and do what?
      Promises are made from both sides, and none are kept. What are you suggesting? Should we all be voting Republican? Are they the promised leaders?
      Seems to me that you are also doing a lot of sitting on you behind and complaining and doing nothing proactive. When was the last time you wrote your Congressman or Senator? (or do you instead attend Glen Beck rallies).



    • Hawk

      Alice…Good morning

      As a retired guy I cringe at the term “benefit”. I see employer-government payments to individuals in a three forms…three Reply

      1. a return on investment—this is how I view Social Security…I started paying into it in 1956 and, in the financial concept, gave up the opportunity revenue from alternative investments….mutual fund for example…for the zero risk promise of a return in the future….not a benefit in my mind simply a return on my investment….a Ponzi scheme may be the reality however and if so our politicians need the cell next to Bernie Madoff,

    • Hawk

      2. next is the promise of a return on a series labor exchanges at a risk-reward ratio that is much higher than a civilian counterpart. In this case my years of flying on and off aircraft carriers and into combat as well as my years working without pay in the Naval Reserves under the governmental promise that I would received a reduced retirement starting at age 60 along with health care….a/k/a TCL. I do not consider TCL a “benefit”…I consider that a business contractual exchange.

  • Rudy G

    Obama’s Health Care stinks to high heaven; it give millions free health care, while the working class pays the premiums, and the military is being pushed to the bottom of the welfare class who receives free health care. When I entered the military in the 50’s I was guaranteed health care for life. I do not resent the welfare class receiving free health care, but I do resent Congress lack of concern for the military health care. Members of Congress and many government officials are living high on the health coverage golden hog. The Democrats have dug the bottomless pit by passing Medicare under President Johnson, and Carter dug it even deeper by giving healthcare to anyone including non-citizens for the vote to keep the power of government. They have put a mountain of debt on us and now wants the military to pay their own way in health care. Military personnel should vote for the person who favors the military.

    • mpnco

      Brother, there is no reason why healthy, able bodied adults should be on welfare let alone get free health care. If they want health care and a monthly check…why not do what you and I did and earn it through service. Do what JFK challenged, and ask not what your country can do for you!

      Other than disagreeing on that minor point, you got it right! No handouts for citizens..definatly none for illegals! Working hard and being self reliant is what made America great! Stray from our strengths only at our own detriment

    • Komplikator

      Your recruiter may have promised you “free health care for life”, but the conract you signed did not.

      So I guess you could sue the Federal Goverment for false advertizing, if you could prove your recruiter actually said it

  • Hawk

    3. This is the only class I consider a “benefit” or “entitlement” and that is where the government gives me money for breathing whether or not I have fulfilled any behavior as a citizen or was engaged in the creation of wealth for the country.

    I fear the politicians like to blur these distinctions by the way they use words to diminish the value of citizens’ contributions to society to serve their convenience and ends. It is up to us to hold their feet to the fire and stop positioning citizens’ efforts to suit the value they feel like placing on them at any given point. Five years ago the military was needed so all was hugs and kisses….under this administration…different story but we’ve heard this tune for ten decades!

  • Crystal

    Personally, from a spouses point of view, I believe Tricare is broken! If I am on vacation visiting family and become ill while pregnant, tricare would rather pay for an emergency room visit then pay for a doctor office visit. Why, because spouses on Prime do not have the right insurance to get authorization to even get a referral to go see a doctor outside of their tricare region (re: triwest, trisouth, etc). Which brings me to the stupidity of creating regions… WHY? Before marriage into the army and tricare began, I had my own benefits which were good anywhere. Good while on vacation in Hawaii, good while on business trip to the Netherlands, good anywhere. It isn’t rocket science to know that the tricare system doesn’t make sense. Nor does it make sense to have horrible dental plans for dependents. I would like to remind the government that when little Suzy has to have her wisdom teeth pulled the money is not coming out of her pocket, it is coming from the serving spouses paycheck, which btw is nothing compared to good old congressman’s or senators down the street! Do they realize that most house holds in the military depend on one paycheck which leave soldiers depending on loans to pay for their childrens or spouses care. And how much you pay out of pocket depends on the rank of the service member. This confusion has left doctors and dentist outside of a military town scratching their heads and unwilling to mess with the whole mess. But that is not all, tricare has to be just so when filing a claim that it may not pay for a visit all together, even for a simple check-up.

    Sorry for my rant, I have had so many dealings with tricare and not many have been good.

  • Ella

    If you continue to cut Tricare and Medicare cost to doctors, there will not be anyone to treat recipients. I guess we will all take advantage of the emergency rooms like others with no medical insurance. Better yet, let us enroll in the FEHB like Congress. Do you think that will be less costly????

    Any cuts in health care need to start with Congress. They can afford to pay for health care or buy a lobbyist.

    • Kelly

      I agree – since most members of COngress – so I have read – are millionaires in their own right – why do they need the “benefits” they are getting. Being a member of Congress was never intended to be a professional job or a job for peopele with too much money who are bored with their own lives and want to mess up others

  • matt

    So i go to Iraq and Afghanistan with my special ops unit and get shot twice. My leg and arm will never be the same. Now your telling me your going to thank me for my service by cutting my tricare coverage? Looks like i went to war against the wrong people.

  • Bob Maxfield

    Some things never change. The American mentality (and memory) are fleeting and limited to the latest pretty sparkle! We (military & retired military) have been fighting this fight since the Revolutionary War. When individuals went to see Washington about pensions, and the same for widows who visited Lincoln, to riots in the streets of DC during which McArthur called out the troops against veterins who only wanted what they’d been promised. Nobody cares about veterians! Most politicans (who’ve never served) act as if they do only long enough, and loud enough to get their wars fought (so somebody can get rich), and so somebody gets elected \ re-elected (and somebody gets richer). Then they start the same old arguments about cost effectiveness. Personally, I think we shoud call for a referendium to repeal the current system: i.e.; Senators should be choosen by state representatives, and nobody in congress should receive pay, healthcare, retirement, etc… Like it used to be: they left their “jobs” in their state, go to DC while congress is in session on a per-diem basis, stay in gov’t quarters while their, and then go back home. That will take the power and money grabing somewhat out of the deal, and perhaps some real statesman (and women) would “serve the nation” in congress. Along the way we’d save alot of “personnel costs” on their fat pay and retirement checks, avoid some bridges to nowhere and fact-finding tour costs, and most likely get some well deserved “benifits” for our military and retired military that could be counted upon beyond the latest election cycle!

    • mpnco

      Politicians spend millions to get elected…do you seriously think their government salary is the motive? Eliminating their benefits and pay would only dis-suade normal, everyday…not allready rich…folks from being able to run. Congress is a full time job and needs to be treated as such. They deserve compensation and benefits. If we want better people in congress we need to vote them in, and vote out the bad ones…the system is fine as is…its the people who are broke, politicians have always been crooked, not to many rich people without skeletons in the closet, and no one in congress is poor!

  • Jim Alvord

    As a retired AF MSGT I must add my objection to the government cutting benefits for ANY military OR former military man or woman. I agree that the Congress and Senate either go under our health care OR we go under theirs. They do not remember the service of any of us. Our Commander in Chief speaks with Forked Tongue, go to war zone, praise troops, return to the White House, direct his staff to CUT Military Benefits. GET OUT AND VOTE.

  • mike moore

    Comment: There are a goodly number of retired military and active military families who’s primary private insurance saves Uncle Sam a bundle in funding Tri-care. Of course, no beans are being counted or acknowledged in the halls of government for such a factoid.

  • I have thought that for ages.Only those that truely believe would run. There would not be such a financial gain.They could recieve pay like they do for jury duty,and there jobs must be kept open to return too.
    My great grandfather, grandfather, father, my self, and my daughter have all served for the greater good.There should never be any concern that income,retirement or medical should be a worry.Isn’t that a shame. I rarly had dental treatment as a child.It was better for my children, Luckly for my 85 year old mother(my father retired Navy decied) Her doctor doesn’t chger her, And we help her with expences. Even Medicare, cost based on income 130.00 ish monthly then you still need gap coverage. So she has Tricare, Medicare, gap coverage, then there is still the dental programs that she has to pay for. This is a crazy system for insurance companies to make money, That is four seprate policies, How many does states and gov. officals have to pay for?

  • Mike Brown

    As a retired Active Duty Soldier, it’s hard enough to get by. VA supplements the income making it a bit easier but the added increases of a private health insurance program or the FEHB program are not what was promised. Living in a remote area, getting to the VA for appointments is a crazy ordeal and an expensive trip. I rely on the Tri-Care Remote for myself and my family. But with the decreased payments and the slow payments I have been seeing more and more doctors opting out of the Tri-Care program. It is sad that even after all those years and all those tours I still get shoved around by our government. We don’t seem to have enough money to take good care of our Vets but we can spend billions in “ear-marks” like studying the life cycle of termites in Arkansas, or building a new airport in North Dakota. I say do away with all the special interest “grants” and then see where our economic plan sits. I bet it would balance without cuts from the military and DOD civilian workforces. Remember to vote!!!

  • Egress

    Hey folks; TRICARE is NOT tied to medicare until you turn 65 and it becomes Tricare for Life. As a retired reservist (37 years) and Gov employee my FEHB policy and Tricare Std paid the bills until I turned 65 with not one mention made about medicare and according to Tricare Help in the Army Times etc Tricare (read the handbook) is NOT an medical insurance policy. Why is it that the contributors to this site seem to think it is. For active retirees that have Tricare, be it Prime or otherwise since they retired where does Medicare come in?

  • vpick0737

    i served this great nation in the US Army for 27 years, 2 months, and 1 day, and now I see where our Tricare to doctor payments could be cut. I served, all other US Forces served, and now we have to pay for our service thru this proposed disaster.

  • E P

    I think obama should be kicked out of office

  • Marissa

    What do Obama have to do with this?

  • B S

    Obama is the one wno ultimately changed tricare. Rigth? ‘Cause that’s what my dad has been saying since now we have at least $3,000 worth of medical bills. Last year for my family Tricare was good to us, we had no co-pay or anything like that for a doctors visit, emergency room, or anything like that. This year its like we got totally screwed…the military has been good to my family but this year it all changed when I had to go to the hospital via an ambulance, Tricare covered only so much and now my family and I have to pay for all the bills…..the first bill I got was for the ambulance….it was $1,060.40….My family and I have to pay that out of our pockets, and make ends meet…HMMMMM! I’m going to be paying these bills off for way too long and its not right.

  • Ernie

    Remember the next time you vote for a republican you vote against your own interest. They don’t give a damn about the soldier or his family. Some of old soldiers remember the old soldiers home deal, three hots and and a cot and medical. A promise that nobody remembers any more. TRICARE came about because the republicans said we can’t aford the free care for families and then put the retires in to reduce cost, and now they want to take that away. They keep talking about hard choices but it only you and me taking the cuts and ask to do more with less. Thirty plus years ago a man call RWR put this country on this road and republican since been saying the same thing. Cut taxes and everybody will do well. Look around you and see how well it worked for you and your family.

  • Mr Mel

    Why cut something that many men and women have spent years of there life to protect this contry with a promise that we would be taken care of for our duties. I am sure many of the ones that are making these dicisions have never ever put there butt in any kind of uniform other than make a showing. I agree with someone earlier why not cut some of those 8 figures that they make to help the economy. I see the President is giving back, why not the Senate and Congress?

  • LCM

    Ernie is so right, this is all republican driven, President Obama is not at fault here, but it is typical for those people to lay blame on someone other than where it really belong, the republicans.

  • Kay

    we live in middle Tennessee. A little over a hundred miles from the nearest military installation. Our copay is no longer $12.00 it is $71.00 Each time I go to the Dr for my broken foot it is an additional $150.00 A good friend of ours, his step daughter got Obamacare, now at the tender age of 21 she has blood clots in her lungs and Obamacare does not cover it and her military retired family are having to seek help to pay the $4000.00 to cover the medicine to save her life. I am an angry Air Force retirees wife and the daughter of a Korean war vet. Pissed at what the government has done to all who serve and have served.