The recent news of the Dept. of Defense’s plan to increase TRICARE fees and pharmacy co-pays has not set well with TRICARE beneficiaries – notably the loudest response has been from military retirees. Military retirees facing new and increased enrollment fees are taking the biggest hit, but, according to an article by Tom Philpott, the biggest cost savings will actually come from proposed increase in TRICARE Pharmacy co-pays, which will impact a much wider group of TRICARE beneficiaries.
According the Rear Adm. Thomas J. McGinnis, chief of pharmaceutical operations for TRICARE, the changes in drug co-pays is designed to drive beneficiaries to “military pharmacies and home delivery – and increasing their use of generic drugs are the two overarching goals.”
Philpott points out that TRICARE enrollment fee and deductible increases require congressional approval, but Defense officials have the authority to raise drug co-pays in the retail network and at mail order. However, Rep. Joe Wilson (R-S.C.), chairman of the armed services personnel subcommittee, told Philpott that he will oppose any plan to raise TRICARE drug co-pays, regardless of projected savings.
“My view is persons need these pharmaceuticals and they should be convenient. And what’s convenient is to go to a neighborhood pharmacy,” Wilson said. “So I don’t want to discourage that any more than has been.”
Unless Congress steps in, military retirees, their families, and active duty family members will be asked to pay $26 for brand name drugs at their local pharmacies and “home-delivery” next fall. And, these co-pays will continue to increase by $2 a year until topping out at $34 in October 2016.