DoD Budget: Pay Safe, TRICARE Fees Increase

January 26, 2012 | Terry Howell

As reported by Military.com, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta and Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Martin Dempsey gave reporters a “preview” of the fiscal 2013 defense budget that will be sent to Congress next month, the first to reflect the bite of $487 billion in reduced budget growth over the next 10 years.

News around the 2013 budget has been mainly focused on the call for downsizing the military forces and equipment. However, there were also some references to pay and compensation that deserve some highlighting.

Military Pay Appears Safe (for Now): “Servicemembers will receive their full pay raises in fiscal 2013 and 2014,” Panetta said. “We will achieve some cost savings by providing more limited pay raises beginning in 2015,” he added.

20-Year Military Retirement Plan Safe (for Now): Panetta will ask Congress to establish a “commission with the authority to conduct a comprehensive review of military retirement” — with the understanding that current troops will be protected with a grandfather clause that keeps their existing benefits.

Military Retiree Health Care Changes: Panetta said troop health care and retirement are two huge issues that Washington can no longer avoid.

Panetta told reporters that “Health care is another important benefit, and one that has far outpaced inflation. Changes to health care will not affect active duty personnel or their families.” However, he added, “We decided that to help control growth of health care costs, we are recommending increases in health care [TRICARE] fees, co-pays and deductibles for retirees.” He added, “But let me be clear that even after these increases, the cost borne by military retirees will remain below the levels in comparable private-sector plans.”

Military retirees fear losing their TRICARE benefit and most understand that something has to be done to reduce TRICARE’s impact on the federal budget. Last week MOAA reported that the DoD is looking for ways, other than increasing fees, to reduce the cost of military health care.  Let’s hope that public pressure can force DoD to find other ways to lighten the cost of TRICARE without increasing the cost “borne by military retirees.”

As one report puts it, DoD’s budget is expected to spark a battle royale among lawmakers, who may scramble to try to protect programs, bases and politically popular troop pay and benefits.

So it begins.

Let the DoD and your elected officials know how you feel about the proposed 2013 Defense Budget and TRICARE fee hikes.

About Terry Howell

Before becoming the Managing Editor for Military.com, 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.

Comments

  1. enlisted retired says:

    Who ever said most retirees said something had to be done about tricare are full of it. Maybe 0-5 retirees and above that double dip working for the government.

    • ret grunt says:

      Amen, EM, how much is going to be enough? Less than 1 percent of Americans even bother to serve, of that tiny percenatge less than 15% ever retire…that's a VERY small percentage they're picking apart who can hardly fight back.

  2. Retired after 22 says:

    The people in DC vote for a war and are surprised how much DoD healthcare costs have gone up … and these people are leading the most powerful army in the world? scary. As far as limiting pay raises – only fair considering our fellow tax-paying Americans have not received any pay raises or are loosing their jobs. I have advocated for years that TriCare prime annual enrollment fees could be doubled as well as co-pays. However, Congress needs to address the real reason for healthcare cost – greed in the insurance companies and greed in the hospitals. Not holding my breathe on that one. BTW – I am not double dipping – I am a full time student who planned for retirement.

    • Bookiebird says:

      Retired…What degree are you pursuing?

    • CharlesBryant says:

      Retired after 22, Part 1

      I'll have to agree with you about raising the fee for Tricare, because from the time of inception (16 years), Tricare has never gone up. I would also say the not only Tricare Prime, but Tricare standard should go up for retirees. I did a quick check on what it would cost me if I didn't have Tricare Standard and decided to go with a plan that was equal to that:

      Continued Health Care Benefit Program

      The Continued Health Care Benefit Program (CHCBP) is a premium-based health care program administered by Humana Military Health Care Services, Inc. (Humana Military). CHCBP offers temporary transitional health coverage for 18-36 months after TRICARE eligibility ends. If you qualify, you can purchase CHCBP within 60 days of loss of eligibility for either regular TRICARE or Transitional Assistance Management Program (TAMP) coverage.

    • CharlesBryant says:

      Reired after 22, Part 2

      CHCBP acts as a bridge between military health benefits and your new civilian health plan. CHCBP benefits are comparable to TRICARE Standard with the same benefits, providers and program rules. The main difference is that you pay premiums to participate.

      Individual coverage: $1,065 per quarter or $4,260.00 annual premiums.

      Family coverage: $2,390 per quarter or $9,560.00 annual premiums.

      Of course this is only temporary and would go way up when this run's out and I would have to go to a plan that regular civilians have.

      http://tricare.mil/mybenefit/ProfileFilter.do;jse

    • You folks who advocate for increased fees, etc. are missing the entire point. It was supposed to be free for life as part of the contract we signed when we went in…at least it was that way when I joined all those years ago. People like you however let these politicians weasel out of their agreements and promises and then wonder why they don't keep their word on other things they promise to do.

      • 1. Please provide contract stating it would be free for life. MY enlistment contract says no such thing.

        2. You still have the same free health care available you had in the 1960's – space available at the Military Treatment Facilities.

      • Retired 21 yr MSgt says:

        Amen brother. These younger troops have no idea about the old school ways and what was promise to us. Too many folks give in to these politicians, they have no idea about the miltary and what we truly do day in and day out!!!!!!

      • CharlesBryant says:

        JJMurry, Part 1

        "You folks who advocate for increased fees, etc. are missing the entire point. It was supposed to be free for life as part of the contract we signed when we went in…at least it was that way when I joined all those years ago."

        I am not missing 'the entire point'! I see and hear your point, but the difference in your point and my point, is that your point really isn't a point at all. Stomping your feet and the continued bringing up of this "free health care for life" argument is a mute subject. It is what I call "settled law". It was never in the contract we signed and most of all never every written into any law that was ever pasted by congress.

        What is being talked about now will not stop what is going to happen just because there are those of us that continue to bring the "free health care for life" argument. As already been posted and explain by 'retiree', free space available free health care is still offered at most military hospitals.

        • Please! You know that "space-A" isn't and hasn't been for quite some time. Yes, not in writing however, as a matter of principle, that does not make it right. Yes, in 1970 I was told by the recruiter that a career meant free healthcare for life. Now, 10 years retired after a 30-year career, it is not so. Don't belittle the FACT that people are still angry, even as they have resigned themselves to the FACT that the promise was a lie.

      • CharlesBryant says:

        JJMurray, Part 2

        "People like you however let these politicians weasel out of their agreements and promises and then wonder why they don't keep their word on other things they promise to do."

        Like I and others have said, the politicians never promised, gave us their word or signed anything giving us veterans free health care for life.

        • You're right. Politicians are so much better than us in every way. Never would they be dishonest in anything. Why this is even up for debate, I'll never know!

    • I retired 1 Oct 80 as a E-7 , Now a E-5 can retire and recieve more retirement pay than I do.Yes every time I reupped the CBPO promised me that my wife and I both would recieve free medical care for life. I served in Viet Nam, Thailand, and the Philipines for aprox 7 1/2 years. I kept my part of the Bargin. to bad the politicians would not keep their part of the bargin.

  3. Mabye Congress should start by cutting there 100% retirement and benifits that they recieve after one term in office…and considering there recent accomplishments they really should be paying the government back….nothing but a bunch of corrupt indivivduals who only take on issues if it will get there next campaign funded.

    • CharlesBryant says:

      scott,

      Don't believe those emails you get. Congressmen don't get any benefits after one term. Zero.

      They must first serve aleast 1 term (4 years) and then get reelected and spend at least 1 year of that second term in office for a total of 5 years before they can recieve a pension, but then that pension doesn't come until they have reached the age of 62.

      Source: http://www.senate.gov/CRSReports/crs-publish.cfm?…

      OR

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Congressional_pensio

      • "They must first serve aleast 1 term (4 years)"

        Congressmen terms are 2 years
        Senate terms are 6 years.

      • you're not even military…

        probably just a federal employee defending your pay (or your messiah)

    • Retiree 2001 says:

      Oh how I agree with your comments….OUr service men and women served their time for our country in heat and cold, illness and deaths, etc and should reap a benefit. Let's put some of our Congress on the battlefield and see how long they last. It is time we all stand up for our country's service members

      • CharlesBryant says:

        Retiree 2001,

        "OUr service men and women served their time for our country in heat and cold, illness and deaths, etc and should reap a benefit."

        Retiree 2001, I'm sure everyone here agrees with this.

        "Let's put some of our Congress on the battlefield and see how long they last. It is time we all stand up for our country's service members"

        Although I understand you feelings, this is just not going to happen, ever. To change the requirements to become a Congressmen and adding Military Service to the list of requirements would require a Constitutional amendment to my knowledge.

        • Also to remember – from the end of the Vietnam war until OEF, the majority of our military did NOT see combat. Some saw it in Gulf War I, and some of the minor conflicts, but most did not see combat. For those who argue for Congress needing to see combat, are they advocating starting wars just to have wars?

          Oh, and you are right, the requirements for Congress are spelled out in the Constitution, Article I. To change them requires a constitutional amendment (means spelled out in Article V).

          To serve in the House of Representatives:
          - Be a US citizen (not necessarily natural born)
          - Be at least 25 years old
          - Have lived in the US for the last 7 years
          - Be a resident of the district they're being elected from

          To serve in the Senate
          - Be a US citizen
          - Be least 30 years old
          - Have lived in the US for the last 9 years
          - Be a resident of the state they're being elected from

          No military requirement, no education requirement, no experience requirement.

        • Obamabot

        • Obamabot who is just fine and dandy with believing that federal employee and congressional pay/benefits can even be compared to our military's pay/benefit without considering the least little bit that military members risk their life if called.

          The difference in pay alone is disgusting.

      • deleted172634 (who I doubt is even military unless a one termer turned double dipper) is an Obamabot who is attempting to disregard the fact that military servicemen risk their very life while comparing pay/benefits.

        The pay difference alone is disgusting.
        (federal civilian employees are out in force as they are shaking in their boots someone might touch their golden egg)

  4. CHI-Town Monk says:

    When my friends and neighbors decided to send me to SE Asia in 1966, my government promised medical care for LIFE for me and my bride. Through the many administrations since then they have chipped away, and completely changed their side of that contract.

    For you young Patriots, I would recommend that you rethink exactly why you joined the service. Your elected officials, who are less than 1% prior service military, could care less about your needs.

    For me and my contemporaries the promise is gone. The next time they ring the bell for the troops to toe the line……..remember today's decisions!

    • CharlesBryant says:

      CHI-Town Monk,

      "When my friends and neighbors decided to send me to SE Asia in 1966, my government promised medical care for LIFE for me and my bride. Through the many administrations since then they have chipped away, and completely changed their side of that contract."

      I've heard this 'medical care for LIFE' argument many, many times, but, it isn't a valid argument, this case was lost back in 2003. Continuing to bring it up does nothing for the overall cause.

      "Your elected officials, who are less than 1% prior service military, could care less about your needs."

      I disagree with this because if you actually check, whether those in congress have had past military service has little to do with anything. The problem is the inability of Congress to say no because all of them are looking for the military vote. Since 9/11 those in Congress have added (voted YEA) on so many extra's for us which has gotten us to where we are today.

      • Agreed. Also, the "free medical care" available in the 1960's is still available – space available at Military Treatment Facilities.

        timeline:
        Pre-CHAMPUS
        - Space-A treatment at MTFs (free)

        CHAMPUS
        - Space-A treatment at MTFs (Free)
        - CHAMPUS (no premium, copay and deductible)

        TriCare
        - Space-A treatment at MTFs (Free)
        - Tricare Standard (no premium, copay and deductible)
        - Tricare Extra (similar to standard, some lower rates, as I understand it)
        - Tricare Prime (premium, extremely reduced copay in many cases, no deductible).

        So the original option is still there, but now there are more options.

        Some pages of reference: http://www.tricare.mil http://www.cbo.gov/ftpdocs/94xx/doc9405/87doc80.phttp://www.rand.org/pubs/testimonies/CT107.html

        • Space-A hasn't been available for retirees to any great extent for many years. Many military treatment facilities have been closed and those still open are pretty much full with active duty and their families, as they properly should. My duty stations (STATE-SIDE HOSPITALS ONLY): Bethesda – merged with Walter Reed, therefore many more active duty of all branches and their families; Philadelphia – CLOSED; Oakland – CLOSED; Great Lakes – CLOSED

  5. Blackcoat says:

    A comprehensive review of Retired Pay, Disability Compensation, Active Duty Pay, as far as I am concerned, is welcomed. Equally, ditto for the pay, retired pay and benefits of congress, senate their staff active and retired. Allow the same rules that we live by apply to the above.
    Our "contribution" is the time that we serve our country. The "contribution" of politicians et. al should be their income. Fair? You betcha. Semper Fidelis. Blackcoat. Captain USMC Retired and 100% Combat Disabled.

    • Be careful asking for the same rules to apply to Congress and to us. They may do it – and put us under FERS and FEHBP same as them –
      - 1.7%/year accumulation (instead of 2.5%)
      - Minimum age to collect after 20 years age 50 (vice immediate right now)
      - Pay 1.6% of your monthly pay into the fund (vice nothing now).
      - Advantage – vested after 5 years (instead of 20)

      For health care, that would mean paying a few hundred dollars EVERY MONTH (instead of free for military/tricare standard, and $520/year per family for Tricare Prime).
      http://www.senate.gov/reference/resources/pdf/RL3http://www.senate.gov/CRSReports/crs-publish.cfm?…

      • CharlesBryant says:

        retiree,

        Here is an updated link for the first link you posted.

        http://www.senate.gov/CRSReports/crs-publish.cfm?…

        • Thanks. Hopefully they'll put a more permanent / easily understandable link on their FAQ page.

      • Ok will congress deploy and get rockets and motors and IED's thrown atbthem

        • ????
          Not certain what your point is. I posted links to current Congressional retirement benefits, so those advocating we receive their benefits (or who claim they have so much better benefits than us in terms of retirement & health care) can understand what Congress actually receives. You might argue whether their benefits are too high, but the fact that their benefits are less than ours is a fact. Those who argue we should get their benefits need to be aware they're advocating a cut in our benefits.

          Oh, and, as I have elsewhere posted, I would support Congress going from the LE scale of FERS (1.7%/year accumulation) to standard FERS (1%/year). LE scale was set because Federal Law Enforcement has a mandatory retirement age of 57. Congress has no mandatory retirement age.

  6. Kennet Tennancour says:

    Congress and the President should take a cut in pay alone with getting rid of most of the federal holidaies that no observes. That and cutting their retirement and health benefits would save a lot of money… But they won't because they are so crooked and worried about their own benefit.

    • CharlesBryant says:

      Kennet Tennancour,

      "Congress and the President should take a cut in pay alone with getting rid of most of the federal holidaies that no observes."

      Congress hasn't received a pay raise since 2009, and the President hasn't received a pay raise since 2001.

      I'm not sure where getting rid of some Federal Holiday's fit into the scheme of things.

      "That and cutting their retirement and health benefits would save a lot of money… But they won't because they are so crooked and worried about their own benefit."

      True, cutting their retirement and heath benefits would save money, but not a lot and not enough to make a dent in the high cost of overall health care. As has already been explain by "retiree", when it come to benefits we already have is much better than what Congressmen have.

      • http://www.usgovernmentspending.com/year_budget_2

        That's the closest I can get to the breakdown. As I read it, the entire cost for Congress (to include Staff and Operations, in addition to Congressional salaries and benefits) amounted in FY11 to $4.2 billion. Assuming a 10% reduction possible, that's a savings of $420 million.

        DoD spending (including retiree pay and benefits) was $678 billion, Spending on Veterans was $141 billion.

        Foreign military aid was $11.6 billion, foreign non-military aid amounted to $43.6 billion.

        Just some numbers for folks to look at and consider when they are proposing fixing the deficit (FY11 $1.3 trillion)

        • http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/BUDGET-2011-APP/pdf/

          Some clarifications as best as I can figure out –
          Compensation for the Senate (to include Senators and staffers): $191 million.
          Compensation for the House (to include Representatives and staffers): $1.419 billion
          http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/BUDGET-2011-APP/pdf/

          Total personnel costs, DoD: $138.5 billion
          Total DoD Health Care costs: $30.9 billion

          One argument in favor of not changing benefits to current retirees or those currently on active duty is that the retirement costs are pre-funded. If you go through the link above, you see that the Active, Active Reserve, & Guard forces all contribute a portion of their personnel costs to prefund retirement costs.

      • "As has already been explain by "retiree", when it come to benefits we already have is much better than what Congressmen have. I don't know how you calculated that, since the highest congressional pension is 80% of pay while ours is 75%. Regarding Congressional pay raises, the law governing congressional pay raises requires members to vote against getting a raise. Otherwise, the increase takes effect automatically. There was no increase in 2012, 2011 or 2012. There is a move afoot to change the Social Security and military retirement pay COLA calculation from CPI-W to chained CPI, which will result in smaller raises. If the chained CPI had been used over the last 10 years, our compensation would be 3.6% lower than it is now.

      • Wow, you really know a lot about Congress' benefits. What district do you represent, congressman?

  7. Did panetta miss obama's memo. Thanks obamacare.

  8. It will be a cold day in hell when Congress actually does the will of The People. I would like to see the Supreme Court actually review all of the more modern laws passed; to ensure they (Congress) is following the 28th Amendment.

  9. glad i'm retired says:

    why should my free healthcare have anything to do with "cost borne by military retirees will remain below the levels in comparable private-sector plans.”?

    this is crap – no one, no one in society is getting shafted like this. everyone else is getting a handout.

    Thanks Mr Panetta. Jerk

  10. So the lie about free healthcare for life they told us when we first signed up continunes to be a mockery to politicians in DC. Why am I not surprised?

  11. Far Right T-Publican says:

    I was on active duty for 30 years and paid for my Tri-care, the same amount as retirees. Now, it is only fair and consistant; if you raise Tri-care health cost for retirees – the exact same increase should reflect for those on active duty.
    Semper Fidelis,
    Sergeat Major U.S.M.C.

    • CharlesBryant says:

      Far Right T-Publican,

      ?????, Since when did Active Duty Soldiers begin paying for their own Health Care?

      • "Far Right T-Publican, " Ah…your true colors come out, Mr. Bryant. Of course no active duty member or family member should ever pay for healthcare. But now, the Liberal name-calling has started? Wow. Why do you need to start that?

        • Homer Runner says:

          He is not name calling, he is replying to the post made by "Far Right T-Publican". Take a look.

      • Oh, I'm so sorry about my previous comment. I guess I was caught up in my angst regarding the fee issue.

      • Tricare prime, maybe

  12. These are the first steps to force us into Obamacare.

    • CharlesBryant says:

      Bobk,

      Not true!

      "Obama signs law to protect Tricare

      By Rick Maze – Staff writer
      Posted : Monday Apr 26, 2010 17:04:54 EDT

      The Tricare Affirmation Act, aimed at protecting people in the military health care program from being penalized for not having private insurance, was signed into law Monday by President Obama."

      http://www.armytimes.com/news/2010/04/military_tr

      • How much is the administration paying you to defend them to no end?

        • retiree says:

          As Jack Nicholson's character in "A Few Good Men" said – "you can't handle the truth". Which is obvious from the fact you are protesting statements of FACT.

          Tricare has been declared, by public law quoted above, as meeting the requirements of the Affordable Healthcare Act.

          • Charles says:

            retiree,

            The truth seems not to have a place in these blogs. LOL

          • retiree says:

            Unfortunately, from the number of protests to posting of facts, as well as the repeated posting of false information (even after being corrected), I'm forced to agree with you.

  13. Military members and federal civilian employees do not receive entitlement to retirement pay after serving one 4 yr tour nor are they entitled to receive 100% of their salary upon retirement as Congressional and Senatorial members are. Why are our Congressional and Senatorial representatives entitled to yearly pay increases while those that serve in the military and federal civilians required to endure reduced and, recently, no annual pay increases. Our military and civilian employees have numerous financial obligations as well. What justifies this disparent treatment in pay?

    • http://www.senate.gov/CRSReports/crs-publish.cfm?…

      Please read, and understand Congress is under FERS. They don't receive retirement after 1 4 year tour, nor are they entitled to 100% of their salary at retirement. At most (by law), they can collect 80%. To get to 80%, they have to serve over 50 years.

      Oh, and they froze their pay in 2009, when they froze the Civil Servant pay.

      • Thank you. I get so tired of having to tell people that. Trouble is, once it gets on the internet, it takes on a life og its own.

        • CharlesBryant says:

          Guest,

          "A lie gets halfway around the world before the truth has a chance to get its pants on."

          Winston Churchill

    • CharlesBryant says:

      Guest, Part 1

      "Military members and federal civilian employees do not receive entitlement to retirement pay after serving one 4 yr tour nor are they entitled to receive 100% of their salary upon retirement as Congressional and Senatorial members are."

      Guest, as been posted in the past, this just isn't true now or has it been true in the past.

      "Under both CSRS and FERS, Members of Congress are eligible for a pension at age 62 if they have completed at least five years of service. Members are eligible for a pension at age 50 if they have completed 20 years of service, or at any age after completing 25 years of service. The amount of the pension depends on years of service and the average of the highest three years of salary. By law, the starting amount of a Member’s retirement annuity may not exceed 80% of his or her final salary."

      Source: http://www.factcheck.org/2007/12/congressional-pe

      • Totally correct. One interesting tidbit – while the law says they can collect at any age after 25 years, since the Constitution puts a minimum age on Congress of 25, effectively they cannot draw retirement until age 50. Not a correction, just an interesting twist on the law.

    • CharlesBryant says:

      Guest, Part 2

      "Why are our Congressional and Senatorial representatives entitled to yearly pay increases while those that serve in the military and federal civilians required to endure reduced and, recently, no annual pay increases. Our military and civilian employees have numerous financial obligations as well. What justifies this disparent treatment in pay?"

      Guest, this too is untrue. Congressmen haven't had a pay raise since 2009 thru 2012.

      • Actually, the law governing congressional pay raises requires members to vote against getting a raise. Otherwise, the increase takes effect automatically. There was a pay raise in 2009, none in 2010, 2011 and 2012. HR 3858 was just introduced on 31 January 2012: "To provide that Members of Congress shall not receive a cost of living adjustment in pay during 2013."

      • Boo, hoo. Congressmen haven't had a raise. Would you shed a tear if anyone suggest we cut their pay and benefits just for the fun of it?

  14. I am more than disgusted that not one politician will ever admit to the lies and deceit laid upon military retirees. Everything promised to me concerning health care when I enlisted has been eroded or lost. Meanwhile the politicians continue to augment their benefits and perks. I have 2 grand sons whom I will ardently recommend that they never volunteer for any military service until things are changed. Never again will I trust my government, nor listen to their pseudo-patriotic drivel. I judge my country in accordance with the way they treat their veterans-and it has failed. Impeach and imprison.

    • CharlesBryant says:

      Larry,

      Our Veterans in the US are taken care off better then any Veterans in any other Country.

      Where Does VA Stand Compared to Other Countries?

      Our veteran benefits are world class by comparison to other countries.

      http://www.veteranstoday.com/2011/09/14/where-doe

      • Other countries? Oh, please! We are not like any other country, unless you are denying "American Exceptionalism" as our "leaders" have.

      • How much is the administration paying you to keep constantly spouting their talking points? Ask them if they are hiring, since I'm sure a bunch of people out here need the work.

        • Idmtmedic says:

          Larry, "deleted, Charles and CharlesBryant" are all the same person and you are right to continually follow his posts as well as "retiree". Two that continually post the party line. Keep up with the blogs.

  15. Gulf Coast says:

    I would suggest that it is highly appropriate to align Tricare premiums/cost share expense with an equivalent % retired pay increase.

    I strongly agree with the position that elected officials should only be eligible recipients of benefits and retirement equivalents to that of full term AD/Retired reservist.

    My principle concern is the continuity of care for veterans attempting to utilize Veterans Administration and/or active duty medical treatment facilities whose capacity and capabilities are degraded, overwhelmed, and dependent upon availability of contract network providers.

    Retired service member and disabled veteran

  16. Panetta said But let me be clear that even after these increases, the cost borne by military retirees will remain below the levels in comparable private-sector plans
    If the system is so good then put Obama and his,,congress and there plople on it AS IS..in the 60s we were told FREE for LIFE as congress. When they changed the military,we the retired military SHOULD have changed congress..We still put the same butt-holed in the seat that did it to us and wonder you they keep doing it..FIRE THEM ALL till we get the same thing,I say that all retired goverment people get the SAME thing

    • The MTF near me is only taking active duty in several departments and I have been referred out to Tricare. So far my copays in just one area have been over $6000.00 and I havent been able to afford care for anything else Tricare has referred me to. There is no way my costs are below the levels in comparable private sector plans. And now they want to raise the cost of Tricare Prime as well? What do we get for this extra money?

      • CharlesBryant says:

        Nurse4813,

        If you feel your costs are NOT way below the private sector plans, then I suggest you check it out. I can garentee you what you have with Tricare would cost you thousands in the civilian market.

        As to what more are you getting for the extra money, your getting more. Should you keep track of what Tricare keeps adding to what they will cover, it is loads of stuff.

        • Wow, deleted176463465463, you know so much about the good tricare does, you should get a job promoting them!

    • CharlesBryant says:

      j j,

      "If the system is so good then put Obama and his,,congress and there plople on it AS IS..in the 60s we were told FREE for LIFE as congress.

      Those in Congress and their people have to pay into their Retirement and Health Care needs. Why would you want to lower the cost for them and give them more of what they all ready are paying for?

      As to the 'free for life', that was based on "space availability" only. Anyway, what you are talking about was lost in the Supreme Court in 2003.

      "When they changed the military,we the retired military SHOULD have changed congress..We still put the same butt-holed in the seat that did it to us and wonder you they keep doing it..FIRE THEM ALL till we get the same thing,I say that all retired goverment people get the SAME thing"

      All Federal Employee's to include Congress are on the same system.

    • "FIRE THEM ALL till we get the same thing,I say that all retired goverment people get the SAME thing"

      Please check out the links to the Congressional retirement FERS. What you are advocating is that we get:
      - 1.7% yearly accrual (vice 2.5%)
      - pay 1.6% of salary into the retirement system (vice 0%)
      - Not collect until age 62, unless you have over 20 years, in which case you get retirement at age 50
      - Pay several hundred dollars A MONTH for health care
      - Between retirement and collecting retirement pay, NO health care benefits
      - After starting to collect retirement pay, pay several hundred dollars A MONTH for health care.

      As the saying goes – "be careful what you ask for – you may get it."

    • Time to vote the scum out. Our politicians have been on a free ride for the last 35 years and we have allowed. Time to send a message and vote all of them OUT!!!!!

  17. I have to agree that the Congress of the United States of America SHOULD NOT be entitled to better retirement or healthcare than the military. If anything they should most definitely get the same. Who is kidding who. They make their own rules and we get shafted. Time to go, one and all, either that or TAR AND FEATHERS are in order.

    Remember your oath Brothers. Semper Fi!

  18. Just how many military retirees are there? Not that many in the overall scheme! Let us be we did our time and deserve all we can get!

  19. Moorevette says:

    I served 30 years of active duty in the USAF–came in in 1972. Yes, I was promised FREE health care and dental for myself and my family if I sacrificed for decades on active duty. The way I see it, we paid for our healthcare upfront by serving 20 or 30 years under conditions that most civilians would never consider. Our Government had already reneged on their promises to me by the time I retired in 2002 and I have always paid for TriCare. I think it is blatantly unfair to keep eroding our benefits after we have already done our part.

  20. i agree with a lot of things said on here. they did say a long time ago that if you joined and did 20 years you would get free dental and health care for life then it changed because we let the politicians change it. also look at this if the president serves one term he gets full retirement and free health for him and his family for the rest of their lives. this alos includes the congressman senators and any other crooked ass politician out there which pretty much inlcudes all of them. so tell me where the fair part is that they are always talking about. a soldier has to do twenty to get 50% retirement but the president does one term(4years) and gets 100% retirement plus secret service agents if they want to cut the deficit then start at the damn top

    • CharlesBryant says:

      blue2,

      LMAO, your really comparing your retirement benefits to the President of the United States retirement benefits? Maybe you should run for Congress or President.

      • Hey, why not state the comparison? Considering that Obama never had a "real job" before he got into the Illinois legislature and then in the U.S. Senate, he basically campaigned for President the majority of the time, he'll be pretty well set after he leaves office in January 2013.

  21. Frank Rough says:

    What you're saying Mr Paneta, is that the the full faith and credit of the United States Government is worthless? Congress seems to have frivolously spent our savings account and now wants to pull a Ponzi play on us. It's a sad day for this country and especially for our veterans who put their lives on the line for a hollow promise.

  22. CharlesBryant says:

    Larry,

    It's not only about the numbers, it is about the whole DOD Budget.

    • Another larryyyy says:

      Why don't you cite factcheck.org again?

      The fact is, the ANNENBERG Public Policy Center (APPC), the sponsoring agency behind FastCheck.org, is itself supported by the same foundation, the ANNENBERG FOUNDATION, that Bill Ayers secured the 49.2 million dollars from to create the Chicago ANNENBERG Challenge “philanthropic” organization in which Barack Obama was the founding Chairman of the Board for and Ayers served as the grant writer of and co-Chair of for its two operating arms.

      • retiree says:

        Another fan of Joe McCarthy. Hint – guilt by association doesn't work. Hint – EVERY article on factcheck.org is sourced – if you don't like their reporting, you can check it out yourself. Hint – regardless of their funding source, as I posted from other sources, the FACTS are that Congress gets a worse retirement & heatlhcare system than us.

        You're practicing a fallacy called "ad hominum attack" – in other words you have no real argument ,so you attack the messenger.

  23. It appears I'll be fighting my last battles against scum like panetta and obama. If they break promises then I will help to break them in a no prisoner war against them and this ungrateful country. Politicians and bureaucrats squander our tax dollars and then want those of us who gave way more than cowards like fatboy panetta and squanderer obama ever did or will. They let others do the dirty work while they sleep in a warm bed every night. and then take away the little promised to those who aren't cowards. I'll give my life in this cause to rid our nation of people of this ilk.

    • CharlesBryant says:

      Dave,

      Panetta served in the Military.

      • larrry again says:

        The fact is, the ANNENBERG Public Policy Center (APPC), the sponsoring agency behind FastCheck.org, is itself supported by the same foundation, the ANNENBERG FOUNDATION, that Bill Ayers secured the 49.2 million dollars from to create the Chicago ANNENBERG Challenge “philanthropic” organization in which Barack Obama was the founding Chairman of the Board for and Ayers served as the grant writer of and co-Chair of for its two operating arms.

  24. 20 Year military retirees over 65 now have less benefits than 91 day vets.
    We were lied to, cheated and have been bled of retirement income, faced lower social security due to low pay and now up to 85 percent may be taxed
    on what we do get. The low-lifes know we are easy pickings and they are going after more. They want us paupers and then we can be killed under King Obama's Obomacare. Resistance- hell there aren't enough of us left to swat a fly. But I will go to my grave shouting the big lie to military aged youth!

  25. Considering the fact that the reason we are spending 150% of our national revenues and have a national debt equal to our national worth, all as a result of pork barrel, wasteful and illegal spending by politicians of both parties trying to buy votes and pay for their agendas….. we shouldn't have to have any increase.

  26. I am not surprised at all!!!! They are destroying the very fiber of our Active.Retirees who have sacrificed so much for them, but I believe there is a God and they will answer to Him for how they are treating our service people. I have been widowed for 13 years, my hs=usband served in Nam twice and died of cancer of the tongue. They wouldn't pay me for Agent Orange but I do get my SBP check which they recently decided to TAX. God bless you akk and hold your head high. Billie a 72 year ole widow from SC

    • CharlesBryant says:

      Billie,

      Why would you be surprised that the Government wouldn't give you benefits for your husbands Agent Orange type of disease?

  27. Just wondering says:

    How much longer can the white house,congress,and senators keep cutting the military benefits,after all the sacrifices that the military personnel has given to this country. Why is it, that the personnel that served in the military have to suffer so much more,than the group of people mention above.The last eight years, while the legislator branch and the white house had fell to perform their duties by worrying about their own agenda,they want to punished the military members, whom have given so much in protecting this country,including their lifes and suffering major injuries .It is time for the military personnel that has given so much be taken care. We were promise lifetime medical care,if we met the requirements. It is time for the promises to be kept and honored.

    • CharlesBryant says:

      Just wondering,

      What benefit cuts? I have been retired since 1995, and no one has cut any of my benefits.

  28. I heard once that if you have TPS, Congress thought about making that part of our retirement at 20 years. What kind of crap is that?? Why can't they cut their crazy spendings, cut back on their paychecks and maybe fire the ones that do nothing but run this country into the ground. Also, if we are hurting so much for money…why do we give Iran (place that hates us) 40 something Billion dollars a year?? Why do we hand out money to all these countries that do nothing to help us or even care about us????? Lets fire Congress, tell these countries to kiss off cause the loan department is closed and finally get someone to run this country the way it was meant to be. I know our forefathers are rolling in their graves and have been for awhile. God bless the US and God bless the military.

  29. Maybe i should have stayed home and not joined the Military. Maybe become super lazy and get free food stamps and other benefits that the government hands out to the lazy ones. You have to be super rich or super poor to make it in this country. If you're the middle man….there's no help.

    Read more: http://militaryadvantage.military.com/2012/01/dod
    MilitaryAdvantage.Military.com

  30. I wish I could serve 4 years and get 100% retirement and free medical/Dental. I know it's hard to go to Washington DC, talk crap, sit there and do nothing, and screw over the whole country.. I mean..my job is cake right…yearly deployments, away from family and friends, wondering if this next deployment will be my time to leave this earth, wondering if we can get by on paycheck to paycheck….Maybe i should have stayed home and not joined the Military. Maybe become super lazy and get free food stamps and other benefits that the government hands out to the lazy ones. You have to be super rich or super poor to make it in this country. If you're the middle man….there's no help.

  31. Just another G.I. says:

    It's obvious that the civilians running the DOD, a large part of Congress and especially our President just don't give a damn about military retirees. We have apparently outlived our usefulness. They have taken GOD out of everything they could so it shouldn't surprise us that they could so easily take benefits away from those that put their lives on the line to defend and protect this country. I say those in government that wish to save money off the backs of military retirees should be ashamed, terribly ashamed. I know my words mean nothing but at least they haven't taken my right to express them—-Yet!

  32. congress cut my entilements and you will fight your own dam wars just try it damit

  33. To put it in perspective, military personnel are paid significantly less than their civilian counterparts. Part of the attraction of volunteering included taking the benefits into consideration. A retiree that retired 15 or 20 years ago does not make what a retiree retiring today makes. Their pay is pretty much set with the exception of small cost of living increases. Many of these retirees are still working and need to continue working just to keep up with continued cost of goods and not to mention, paying for the social programs and bailouts that the current administration has continued to create and embrace. We can blame ourselves as a nation for supporting and electing people who have no real experience or record to hold such an office. There are so many true comments and I agree with all of them, but, it we the military do not bond together and do something then once they start dipping into our pensions and increasing fees, they WILL NEVER STOP! On top of that, when these inexperienced so called leaders fail again at diplomacy, they again will call upon our sons and daughters to save the day and go off to a foreign land. God save the Queen!

    • CharlesBryant says:

      sgt rock, Part 1

      "To put it in perspective, military personnel are paid significantly less than their civilian counterparts."

      Bullchit, just a bit of quick figuring what a PVT under 2 years makes compared with someone else fresh out of High School working for minimum wage would prove that theory wrong in a hurry.

      ""Part of the attraction of volunteering included taking the benefits into consideration."

      Again, bullchit, IMO, most of those first time enlistee's don't consider the benefits, only the up front pay.

      "A retiree that retired 15 or 20 years ago does not make what a retiree retiring today makes."

      This I will agree with this, and say this holds true for all of those that retiree. It's a no brainer..

    • CharlesBryant says:

      sgt rock, Part 2

      "Their pay is pretty much set with the exception of small cost of living increases."

      (?????)Yep, there pay is set at 50%, like everyone before them.

      "Many of these retirees are still working and need to continue working just to keep up with continued cost of goods and not to mention, paying for the social programs and bailouts that the current administration has continued to create and embrace."

      Military Retirement like Social Security was never meant to be a "LIVING WAGE". Like any other job, you are expected to save on your own for your retirement.

      "We can blame ourselves as a nation for supporting and electing people who have no real experience or record to hold such an office."

      IMO, this has little to do with elected officials, only the long term expenditures

      • Yes, elected officals have clean hands in this and any other mess this country finds outselves in. Yep. Right. They suuure do.

  34. Some good post already –
    I believe that we are missing the big picture. Not only are we retiree's being affected but all the seniors and disabled are affected as well by the excess spending and foreign aid that we are sending all over the world. Reduce the excess spending and severely reduce the foreign aid to the thankless countries that we give billions of dollar and put that money toward the retirees, seniors and disabled "we, the people". Enforce the laws for Welfare, Disability, Immigration, and Social Security Benefits. By stopping the fraudulent payments within these programs alone will save billions of dollars. If we clean up our own mess, we would have the necessary funds to support the programs in questions – Tricare – Social Security – Military Retirees – etc.

  35. Pissed Off Retiree says:

    This is garbage. We won't touch your retirement, but we will make Tricare so expensive that it has the same effect. We will make Tricare so painful and poorly managed that neither the civilian medical community nor the retirees will want anything to do with it. Can we get rid of this guy yet? He wants to take away benefits we earned while giving those same benefits to any Tom, Dick or Harry walking down the streets who has never done anything for this country. This is socialism…..

  36. Remember, it's election year and we can all band together to drain the swamp.

  37. Sid the Squid says:

    The Sheeple who never served but keep voting for more free "bennies" from our Current "Sad Hog Sack" Politicians dont give a flying f""k about this Nations Veterans. I say maybe we need to do what the Soldiers did after "NAM" and march on the White House and throw our medals over the fence to make a statement. As long as we just moan and groan we gonna take it in the shorts just like they expect. "Rise up Occupy the White house Rental"

  38. Herman Chamblee says:

    "Less we all stick together, stand up and fight for our benefits, we shall continue to be denied while taking the brunt of budget cuts !" And sooner or later the president and politicians will take away all of our health and dental coverage. I would personally be ashamed to take anything for the brave men and women who have placed themselves in danger countless times in defense of this country. The president and politicians are making money hand over fist and could give a damn less about the welfare of the veterans and their families living in this country. They are more capable of paying higher co-payment cost than any poor retiree might be. All the way, Sir! "Airborne!"

  39. milfmly says:

    Dad served 25 years in the AF and died and poor Mom gets 153 amonth in retirement…go figure! All those benefits without healthcare is NOTHING!

  40. TexasVetgal says:

    It goes much deeper thn just panetta or Obozo, most of congress is either communist already, or quickly moving that direction,(republicans too). The NWO have their hooks into Obozo and are pushing the globalists agenda thru Hillary and UN, CFR, all is being directed thru these Global Financiers like Soros, Bilderbergs, et al. We must fight against this global governance agenda, if we intend to remain a free and soverign Nation, this fight goes to the heart of the immigration issue and the Borderless secular societies these people want to create from the ashes of our Parents America. Arrest Obamao Holder, Pelosi, all of them. Americans who believe in our Constitutional republic and want to remain free from these Totalitarian Communist nutjobs have to fight back. One Voice against them in defense of our Liberty. They dont care about your service or the promises their predecessors have made to our military veterans. Hold them all up for Treason, would be a good first step in reversing this Leftist push to destroy America. These are not your fathers Democrats, these are Marxists and Socialists on a mission to remove God and Country from our National dialogue and institutions. Charge them all. Damn them all.

    • retiree says:

      Please go to your library and get a copy of Karl Marx's "Das Kapital." Read it. THEN describe here SPECIFIC proposals that are communist.

      • TexasVetgal says:

        I don't need to read about Marxism, you need to review all the evidence, whether he is a Hardline dyed-in-wool Marxist or not. His mentor growing up "Uncle Frank" is Frank Marshal Davis (communist) his church and Reverend Wright is Black Liberation Theology (Marxism) his mother (communist sympathizer) and father met in Russian Class at a time in our Nations history (cold war), his associations Ayers, Dohrn et al are Marxist Revolutionaries, His Professor Bell at Occidental college ( a marxist) . Obama himself was a member of the "Chicago New Party" (communists) Obama's Brother Roy and Cousin Odinga are Marxists. And this is the Short list! I think you may be the one who needs to do some reading.

        • retiree says:

          Proving you have no clue as to what communism is. I take it you are a fan of Joe McCarthy and guilt by association and innuendo. Who needs facts, evidence, etc? We just accuse, and as a result they are guilty.

          . Again, please provide specific policy proposals that are Communist..

  41. talon0007 says:

    Ok Military pay and the 20 Year Military Retirement Plan appears safe. Of course it is, pay raises along with the 20 year retirement will bring all who retire into the middle to upper tier brackets. The government will then recoup its fees on health care from the veteran over the next 20 to 25 years.

  42. Like all healthcare costs in America, Tricare has, too, skyrocketed. As more retirees enter the system, we will find the costs continuing to spiral upward. Obviously, the system cannot be maintained (as is) with such fiscal/cost growth. However, rather than raising fees, I would suggest that we go to a medical savings system, where we would get a set amount of $$ each year and then we would only spend it as we needed it. We would than keep a portion of that money that's left when the year ends. This would result in saving the Govt tens of millions, perhaps 100's, and would allow all vets to continue to enjoy a reduced cost.

    Just a suggestion ….

  43. My grandfather, father, husband and now son have all served or are serving in the military. After 20 years my husband's "retirement" is barely be enough to subsist on. He's 50% disabled and we both work full time to make ends meet. I know he gets most of his care at the veteran's hospital, but medical benefits have been the one significant benefit our family has seen. Charging retirees and their families more for a benefit that was originally supposed to be free is a slap in the face. Apparently there is no need to keep any promises made to those who have either sacrificed their health or those who made sure there was something for them to come home to.

  44. Any one thats in the Military that votes for Obama needs to have there head examined. He is just wanting four more years so he can continue to run our country in the ground.

  45. Its more than a crying shame that are supposed leaders are more concerned about lining their pockets than taking care of the nation that pays their salary and their benefits…. Why in Gods name do these people think that the are above the law and should have it all…. If it wasn't for our military espically the enlisted ranks our nation would be in dire straits….. Its just plain shameful how all these lying loudmouth people that run congress and the senate can get up there day after day and just throw the tax payers money out the window…. Along with the ways they have been steady on plain taking away from everyone hope and dreams so that their pockets can continue to overflow…The land of the home of the free along with the american dream has long disappeared…. Thanks to our so called leaders of this nation….. Our rights do not exist anymore and those who sit in washingtion dc could care less….

  46. I did my 23+ years of service for a retirement and earned every penny of it and my medical benifits. If you want to reduced those benifits I'm okay with that, as long as every member of Congress & the President (current and past) recieve the same benifits that I do. They are no better than me and sure didn't face the same risks, but I'll share the burden with them. Lets all have the SAME medical package whatever it may be. Too bad they can't share my scars and pains, but I earned those too!

    • Retied Enlisted Guy says:

      Here, here Chief! I agree. After serving my over 21 years, I really didn't realize that we are in the "entitlement" category. So instead of our retirements and benefits I believe we earned (at least I think we earned them), it seems that we are only entitled to our retirement and benefits. This is no different than the person on the street being entitled to welfare. I'm not saying welfare isn't necessary but the system is so over inflated and abused that if ran right, it could be a good program. So if we receive entitlements, do members of congress or the Secretary of Defense/State, etc receive entitlements or do they receive bona fide retirements. I would love to have the medical benefits of congress. I agree why are they better? I know these people were voted in, lets be real. They "earn" around $200,000 per year. Obama earns $400,000 plus a $50,000 kicker for his lavish parties. The question is what can we do about it? I know that when I joined, I joined under very different rules and many different contractual agreements than now. Apparently congress and the SECDEF can just change the way they do business based on their perspective.

      • Jennifer says:

        I think that you should both start a petition on the whitehouse.gov site. Specifically saying what the original poster said. As a spouse of an active duty military member I would be more than happy to sign it because I totally agree and think it is unfair! Thank you for your service!

  47. Raising the retirement age seems a reasonable solution, 30 years from 20 years would create a more capable and efficient military. It would save lots of money in recruitment and consistency. Most other developed nations have their professional military stay until 65 (Germany, Norway, etc.). That would work in most specialty areas. For jobs that should not be staffed with middle aged people (F-18 pilots) allowance should be made. Of course, a grandfather clause should be included. A type of Universal government worker health care seems reasonable for private to Senators. Let's be reasonable!

    • Retired Enlisted Guy says:

      My ass! Why don't we look at the retirement for a congressman first. Soldiers, Sailors, Marines and Airmen fight for this country but yet still financially get sucked out of their savings but continuing programs preying on your service members. I believe the soldier who lost his legs in an IED attach has paid his or her fair share while most of the country sits on their asses figuring out how to rip off military members. If you don't believe me, look at the new TRICARE situation where Obamacare will continue to suck the service members dry. When a Colonel makes good money, the typical soldier gets paid about 2/3 less than that Colonel. Its time to stop looking at Officers salaries and keep an eye on the Private or lower enlisted soldier and STOP forcing these people to get on Government Sustainment programs such as WIC or other Welfare programs. These fine men and women sacrifice more than any other person in the United States for our freedoms. Look at additional programs like the Post Exchange programs where prices continually raise. Its time to get off your ass and decide to support our troops and not place opinion on blogs.

  48. I've never been in the military but I truly feel your pain. The government should live on a balanced budget like everyone else. Their reign under Obama is criminal and they need to be made accountable.