Defense Bill May Enable Retirees to Get Back on TRICARE Prime

December 13, 2013 | Terry Howell

The House version of the 2014 National Defense Authorization Act has a provision to allow the military retirees who were kicked off TRICARE Prime last October, a one-time shot at re-enrolling.

As some of our readers have noted, Par. 3(B) limits re-enrollment eligibility to those living within 100 miles of a military treatment facility. The remainder of the 171K retirees that were kicked off TRICARE Prime (myself included) will have to remain on TRICARE Standard.

Sen. Klobuchar (D-MN) introduced Senate Bill S.1078, which would allow military retirees living outside of the 100-mile restricted TRICARE Prime Service Area to have a one-time opportunity to remain enrolled in TRICARE Prime as long as the beneficiary resides in the same zip code as he/she did at the time of election of benefits. Senators Hagan (D-NC), Hirono (D-HI), Schatz (D-HI), Casey (D-PA) and  Pryor (D-AR) have co-sponsored the bill.

Let your elected officials to know if you support Senate Bill s.1078.

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Here is a copy of the text from Sect. 701 of the House version of the National Defense Authorization Act:

ONE-TIME ELECTION —Subject to paragraph (3), the Secretary shall ensure that each affected eligible beneficiary who is enrolled in TRICARE Prime as of September 30, 2013, may make a one-time election to continue such enrollment in TRICARE Prime, notwithstanding that a contract described in subsection (a)(2)(A) does not allow for such enrollment based on the location in which such beneficiary resides. The beneficiary may continue such enrollment in TRICARE Prime so long as the beneficiary resides in the same ZIP code as the ZIP code in which the beneficiary resided at the time of such election.

“(2) ENROLLMENT IN TRICARE STANDARD —If an affected eligible beneficiary makes the one-time election under paragraph (1), the beneficiary may thereafter elect to enroll in TRICARE Standard at any time in accordance with a contract described in subsection (a)(2)(A).

“(3) RESIDENCE AT TIME OF ELECTION —An affected eligible beneficiary may not make the one-time election under paragraph (1) if, at the time of such election, the beneficiary does not reside—

“(A) in a ZIP code that is in a region described in subsection (c)(1)(B); and

“(B) within 100 miles of a military medical treatment facility.

“(4) NETWORK —In continuing enrollment in TRICARE Prime pursuant to paragraph (1), the Secretary may determine whether to maintain a TRICARE network of providers in an area that is between 40 and 100 miles of a military medical treatment facility.”

Read the 2014 National Defense Authorization Act. (PDF)

Comments

  1. I don't agree it's a one time only deal but it's at least a carrot. Maybe a rotting carrot but better than the other option.

  2. Timothy A Parker says:

    So does this mean that I can get my tricare prime back and the Dr we had before will be able to stay in the tricare network? This sure would make it easier for wife and I then having her to miss a days work and travel over 70 miles to hopeful see a Dr once there.

    • RespectVets says:

      There is no mention that our local Doctors will be reinstated into the Prime directory. All this legislation seems to do is keep the current rules in place but extends the time eligible enrollees are able to re-enroll in Prime AND sign a drive time waiver.

      • angeleyesih says:

        I just received an email back from my Senator…Senator Casey. He explained that whatever was done in regards to Tricare Prime, it did not create any option for those living over 100 miles from an MTF to be able to re-enroll. So, again, my question is why is it that when my husband retired we weren't told about this before we moved to an area that wasn't going to have Prime. My husband retired in 2009. His email states that the DOD announced the mileage change in 2007. People should have been made aware. But again, they will now save money on those who chose to retire outside of the MTF range.

    • RespectVets says:

      Wonder when/if the Secretary will decide to reinstate our doctors?

      “(4) NETWORK —In continuing enrollment in TRICARE Prime pursuant to paragraph (1), the Secretary may determine whether to maintain a TRICARE network of providers in an area that is between 40 and 100 miles of a military medical treatment facility.”

  3. if the NDAA law passes ,, it appears that you can

  4. Just in time for 2014 elections, how convenient.

  5. I'm confused as well with regard to the wording. The topic says 171K may be allowed to get TRICARE Prime back, but section 3.b says you must live within 100 miles of an MTF. That restriction will not allow all 171K to return to TRICARE Pime.

      • I just looked at the distance….looks like I'll be right around 110 miles from the nearest MTF….just my luck!

      • I am hoping this is rectified..to me it looks like you have to live within 100 miles of an MTF. in this case I will end up remaining on Tricare standard/xtra..Senator Mcain caused all of this from the beginning..send him back to a prison camp and jar his memory..I have no respect for him at all

    • Good point – I have asked my Senate contacts for further clarification. I will update the article as soon as I hear one way or the other.

      • That would be appreciated, thanks.

      • I've contacted my Senator as well. Senator Casey endorsed this bill also and I've asked him for clarification. There is a huge retiree population on the western side of the state of Pennsylvania that would be left out. Of course, it was a total travesty that this happened in the first place. If I read correctly last year when we were notified this has been in the works since 2007 or 2008.

    • Retired SFC says:

      Bingo! Either they are not smart enough to understand their own writing or they think we are not smart enough to understand it! I just wrote my Senator which happens to be Mark Pryor of Arkansas (a co-sponsor of this bill and up for re-election) I'll come back here and post what his response is to me. Just FYI, as a retired E-7, kicking me off Tricare Prime could cost me up to 20% of my annual retirement pay.

    • CMSGT Buzz says:

      Okay…I was confused, too, for a while…but now see where that whole zip code and distance requirement is, for sure, no longer a factor for those who lost Prime (like me), and wish to get it back, PROVIDED YOU STILL LIVE IN THE ZIP CODE YOU LIVED IN WHEN YOU LOST PRIME ON OCT. 1 (why that would make a difference is beyond me!)

      Both the Senate AND the House version of bills DO AWAY with the zip code and distance requirement for us! The House bill uses, in reference to the CURRENT law, the word "notwithstanding" when talking about the current zip code requirement. That word means "in spite of"…and is saying REGARDLESS of the current distance or zip code requirement.

      The Senate bill, S. 1078, says, in the article above, the same thing, in this way: "it would allow military retirees living outside of the 100-mile restricted TRICARE Prime Service Area to have a one-time opportunity to remain enrolled in TRICARE."

      Again…remember the caveat: PROVIDED YOU STILL LIVE IN THE ZIP CODE YOU LIVED IN WHEN YOU LOST PRIME ON OCT. 1 (dumb!!!)

      Enjoy, guys!

      • RespectVets says:

        But will our local Doctors get reinstated? I am one of those that was allowed to stay on Prime because I live less than 100 miles from an MTF. BTW – I never used that MTF rather, used local doctors who accepted Prime.

        On 10/1, my local doctors were removed from the Prime database because Tricare/DOD shrunk the service areas and I now have to drive 35 miles to see my new PCM instead of her partner, right down the street.

        The way I see it, they are just extending the time to reenroll in Prime if you meet certain restrictions, which is what they were offering prior to 10/1. If you missed the 9/30 deadline to remain in Prime, and you are willing to waive your drive times (your local doctors have been dropped), you get to sign up one last time (provided you still live in the same zip code that you lived in when you first signed up for Prime). I don't really see how this "fix" works unless DOD/Tricare are willing to allow our local doctors back on the Prime rolls.

        • Baton Rouge Vet says:

          I am in same boat as you – me and family have to drive 30 miles now… but was allowed to atleast remain prime… starting to think I should have just went standard and not have to drive…

    • Karen Parker says:
    • I received a message back from Senator Casey. The verbiage for those over 100 miles to an MTF will still be relinquished to Tricare Standard. They did not remove that verbiage from the final bill. :(

      • Senator Casey is in error. Those who live outside 100 miles of a MTF will be allowed back to Tricare prime. The individual who lived 40 to 100 miles from an MTF were already allowed to keep prime if they agreed to drive further and were not further then 100 miles. This bill is for those who were over a 100 miles and had no choice but to accept Tricare standard

      • Sen. Klobuchar (D-MN) introduced Senate Bill S.1078, which would allow military retirees living outside of the 100-mile restricted TRICARE Prime Service Area to have a one-time opportunity to remain enrolled in TRICARE Prime as long as the beneficiary resides in the same zip code as he/she did at the time of election of benefits

        • richard, I know this. I have it. It was INTRODUCED. It has stalled on the floor. Here is what he said:

          While Senator Klobuchar’s TRICARE Prime amendments were not included in the FY14 NDAA, a provision included in the bill will ultimately negate the effect of the TRICARE Prime change. While it still provides certain TRICARE beneficiaries with the opportunity to retain access to TRICARE Prime by allowing a one-time election to continue such enrollment in TRICARE Prime, it does not allow the election if one lives outside of a 100 mile radius of a military treatment facility. The FY14 NDAA also rejects proposed fee increases for the TRICARE health care system.

  6. I want to know WHY it's 100 miles? For that matter, why ANY MILES???

    • RespectVets says:

      I understand that Tricare Prime is really designed for those on active duty and using local doctors in a geographic area augments the care servicemen and women get from an MTF. Not sure of the history but apparently, retirees were also allowed to use this network of providers. I'm only guessing someone determined that 100 miles is the maximum acceptable distant an active duty person can live from their duty station and this must somehow also apply to their medical care – but I really don't know.

      From Tricare:

      "Prime Service Areas (PSAs) are geographic areas where
      TRICARE Prime is offered. PSAs were created to ensure
      medical readiness of the active duty force by augmenting the
      capability and capacity of military treatment facilities (MTFs)."

      "The affected areas are not close to existing MTFs and have
      never augmented care around MTF or Base Realignment and
      Closure (BRAC) locations."

  7. Just so we understand what is at stake… I checked Healthcare.gov here in South Florida (I am lucky, still eligible given small military presence here), and you go straight to the "Platinum" plans to find anything comparable to Tricare Prime… average costs… $1,300 to $1,500 per month! I certainly understand the military lobby groups not wanting to allow any benefits to erode… but I'd sure be willing to pay a little more that $550/year to keep Tricare Prime to avoid losing it entirely. Although I m sure I would get something through my employer that is less costly than the Healthcare.gov "platinum" plans I looked at… suspect it would still be a lot more expensive than Tricare Prime.

    • Not everyone has the luxury of a sympathetic employer, such as you indicate is your situation. Perhaps you could send a donation in the form of a supplemental check, to one of the tens of thousands of currently homeless veterans, in the US. Your comments define you as trivial, selfish & obtuse.

  8. Somehow I just believe this more smoke up our ares. This administration and most Senators do not a flying F%*# about us.

  9. wtpworrier says:

    Yeah well, what if there is no doctor at the Military facility you have to go to? Because I live within 35 miles of a Navy facility, I have to go there for treatment, but there is no doctor there, I end up talking to a family practitioner, at my age, I feel a lot more comfortable talking to a doctor, they can at least tell me what is wrong with me. And if I get real sick, I am instructed to go to the emergency room. There are doctors not more than two blocks away from me, why can't I go there?, they accept Tri-Care.

  10. Navy Veteran says:

    More smoke screens and mirrors fellow veterans. We really need to get our act together as a voting block and vote these people out of office. Sick of being on the chopping block everytime someone wants to lower spending. Time to look at all of the entitlement programs out there and foreign aid and start cutting these programs versus the veterans benefits.

  11. How does this affect folks with TriCare for Life?? I live in Pittsburgh too. No

    • It does not mention TRICARE for Life. The Bill does ensure no "new" TRICARE premium changes – meaning the previously scheduled increases apply,but no new hikes are planned.

  12. If you really want me to think that the current administration wants to reduce spending then cancel the health plan that they have and put them under Tri Care. The could also stop the multi million dollar vacations to Hawaii. Since this administration has been in office the cost of vacations and "date nights" could pay for health care for veterans for a couple of years. They act like neavou rich who had never had any money and now they are spending our money like a drunken sailor. Sorry Navy

  13. Why were they kicked off?

  14. S.Morrison says:

    I retired 11 Sept 2012, my 60th birthday. I was already told that I would not be allowed to enroll. Thus I am in Standard. And the roll back to 30 Sept will not help me at all. 34 years active and reserve….and this is what you get.

  15. David Addison says:

    I was forced off tri-care prime and into standard because my wife lost her job and we had to relocate. Lucky for us or unlucky for us we found a great place to live 2 miles from the arkansas state line when I was instructede I could not use the doctors I use to because they are no longer in network based on my zip code. Had I of know when I enlisted many years ago I never would have.

  16. Tina Robinson says:

    i was fortunate to get tricare back this month when my dr had a practice in 2 counties over and i just had to sigh the drive waiver. I ll try 17 miles to see a verses paying 360.00 a month premiums. If you read the new bill pending it will allow those outside the 100 mile limit to re enroll if you still live in the same zip code that you lived in when you originally emrolled. Lets just see if it passes.

    • RespectVets says:

      Problem is, our local doctors were dropped, too. Mine was booted from Prime to Standard. I was able to keep Prime but now have to drive 35 miles to see an approved doctor even though my new doctor is in the same practice (same corporate address, central billing, coding, etc.) as my former, local doctor. To really make this right, they also need to reinstate our local doctors. Vets should be able to stay on Prime AND see their local doctors, period!

    • The ndaa 2014 sefense bill already paddes Tina and was signed by the president..now we have to wait for when we get it back

  17. “ONE-TIME ELECTION —Subject to paragraph (3), the Secretary shall ensure that affected eligible beneficiary who is enrolled in TRICARE Prime as of September 30, 2013, may make a one-time election to continue such enrollment in TRICARE Prime, notwithstanding that a contract described in subsection (a)(2)(A) does not allow for such enrollment based on the location in which such beneficiary resides. The beneficiary may continue such enrollment in TRICARE Prime so long as the beneficiary resides in the same ZIP code as the ZIP code in which the beneficiary resided at the time of such election.” Can anybody explain what exactly this is saying? I had Prime when I was taken away, but I live more than 100 miles from an MTF. I still live at the same place as when I lost my Prime but is that the same as “at the time of election” is confusing?

    • Marjorie Cary says:

      That is my question exactly!!!!! And I need to schedule surgery and would really like to know where I stand!
      Margie

    • RespectVets says:

      The way I read it is it's at the time of "initial" election? I first enrolled in Tricare Prime 2 years ago and still lived in the same zip code when DOD/Tricare deemed my zip code was no longer in a Prime Service Area. I did however, live within 100 miles of a MTF (even though I never used that MTF – I used local doctors accepting Prime) so elected to stay on Prime but I had to sign a drive time waiver and drive 35 miles to see a new doctor. This is because my local doctor was also dropped from Prime because in order for her to be Prime eligible, her practice has to be within 40 miles of a MTF. Funny thing…my new doctor is actually a partner in the same group as my old doctor. But the new doctor's office is located in an "approved zip code".

  18. Every time the DOD is asked to curb it's budget, the Retiree and Veteran benefits are the first to get cut. I say with this crop of weak Generals it is time to take ALL Military Retiree Benefits OUT of the DOD budget and put them in an agency that cares for it's citizens and will get the proper funding. Also, it is time we vote as a block and start voting against those in Congress that continually vote against Retiree and Veteran benefits. Enough is enough.

    • Frustrated Vet says:

      Totally agree with CSM (R). It is time to take the Military Retiree Benefits out of the DOD budget and put them in an agency that will properly manage them.

    • And who would that be in our current government. Besides which, we would have add another department to waste a lot more of our money, so we would need a further reduction to pay for additional incompetent government admin. Yes, we need to get together to protect what "we" have earned, but another government agency, no.

    • thomas williams says:

      you are so correct Command Sergeant Major. I lost my Tricare for life because I have medicare WHY don't we send all the SERGEANTS MAJORS we can find to Washington and run the country
      Thomas Williams
      Riverdale GA
      Retired SGM

  19. Frustrated Retiree says:

    Why is the Military Retiree the first group of people that is looked at when cuts are ordered within DOD? We make up about .03 of 1% of the total budget yet we are asked to cut about 17%. Enough already. TRICARE Prime should be restored immediately to all those that lost the coverage. It is time we vote ONLY for those that have served in the military and make it clear that we as a group will not support any member of Congress regardless of party affiliation that votes to cut Military Retiree Benefits. We are not their punching bag.

    • RepectVets says:

      McCain backed this reduction to Prime and also backs further reductions. Instead of using your zip code as the criteria, future plans are to use your age. 65 and under are the next target group for losing Prime.

      • RespectVets says:

        I think the 40 mile limit PSA reductions and 100 mile zip code restrictions (resulting in 3% of retirees getting booted from Prime) were just a test. How much ruckus will 3% make by losing Prime? Can we (DOD) get away with this without causing an uproar? I believe their real goal is to boot all military retirees under the age of 65 off of Prime and onto Standard or even better, onto the exchange or employer plans.

        Isn't it interesting that 3% of people on private insurance lost coverage the same time 3% of military retirees lost Prime? Sounds like a Mel Gibson movie to me!

      • This whole thing was started in 2007. They started the work on this way back then. They start renewing contracts with physicans over years. That's what this was about. And since most MTF's can't handle more than just the active duty they had to contract with more physicians in the local areas around the MTF's.
        McCain absolutely did support this. As a matter-of-fact he said that no working age retiree should be allowed to select Prime…..didn't matter where they were located. He didn't want any of them to be allowed to do it. He said that it would therefore cause him to go into Tricare Standard or "better yet" pick up his employer sponsored health plan.
        That man was censured this weekend. Not sure exactly what that will accomplish but….
        My personal opinion is that this is just the start of booting all retirees off of any type of Tricare and moving us all into either employer sponsored health plans or the exchanges….both of which they would proved some sort of tax credits or something to make it look they they are still taking care of their vets.

  20. I'm 66 and enrolled in TriCare For Life and 100% VA and Social (in)Security. My wife turns 65 March 1. I hope nothing happens between that time as we lost TriCare Prime for her on 1 Oct too. The House just voted retirees from 42-62 a 1% reduction in COLA allowances. For an E7 that is over $72K of lost income. No government employees or congress jerks received these cuts, no welfare or illegal alien benefits have been cut and no cost restrictions on POTUS vacations were addressed. I did four combat tours in 38 years EM/Off and I feel the soldier and retiree have been violated by this congress and that slime POTUS. The above blogger is correct, we need to vote as a block, vet the candidates, call them out as liars if they are. Go to the Townhall meetings until they no longer will hold them out of fear of their constituents!

    • RespectVets says:

      Thank you for your service, Sir! Sad thing is…Senator McCain backs this reduction and I understand he is also in favor of eventually removing all military retirees under the age of 65 off of Prime and onto Standard or something else because supposedly retirees under 65 are doing just fine and are gainfully re-employed and now have access to employer insurance, etc. DOD/Tricare are starting with a bogus zip code thing to carve off 3% of enrollees. Just wait….those of you retirees not yet dropped. You are definitely next.

  21. I was told that the zip code my long time physician is in is in the network still, but not for Prime. I have also been told that my zip code (on a ranch – 30 miles from town) is eligible for Prime and that I am still in Prime. What am I supposed to do when the surrounding zip codes, IOWs, those in town, where the physicians are at is Standard only?

  22. russell king says:

    What, you could already get a waiver if you lived within a 100 miles, what a bunch of crap this is nothing!!!!!!!!!

    • RespectVets says:

      Yep! All this is is an extension of the time to keep Prime if we meet certain criteria and didn't do so before 10/1. My local Doctor was also dropped from Prime when DOD/Tricare shrunk the service areas. She was put on the Standard only roles. Are they going to reinstate my local Doctor? I highly doubt it. Even though I was able to keep Prime because I live within 100 miles of a MTF, I now have to drive 35 miles to see a new doctor in an "approved" zip code. Funny thing…my new doctor is a partner in the same practice (same central billing, coding, etc.) as my old doctor. Only dif. is her location.

  23. Guys this has been going on decades with every president and congress with the exception of Ronald Regan. Every one that I can remember couldn’t wait to Butt F@#k the G.I. what’s new now is the current group wants to quit providing the Vaseline!
    I don’t think the majority of the American people are for it but the public doesn't hear about it from the scum buckets in the press.
    I’m dying of lung disease from military service. I have had to fight the VA and TRICARE to just get health care that is just below what the veteran gives my dog; so they won’t be able to do me much longer.
    You guys still left keep up the fight NEVER ACCEPT DEFEAT!!!!

  24. I am a retired RVN Vet I think it is time for every vet to come together and go to washington . Also where is our High ranking military leaders? We are all still Brothers, Its time for all those in Washington to go.

    • The Senior Generals, Admirals, etc. conservative warriors, the kind that stand up for their troops are being systematically removed by this Administration. Under Obama we've lost dozens of Senior Officers who are being replaced by polically correct paper pushers. Many who have never served a day in combat.

  25. Master Chief Gunz says:

    To My Elected Servants,
    Just as you are obviously dedicated to protecting your current and future pay and benefits, I am also interested in mine. I faithfully served my country in uniform for twenty-two plus years. Like many of my fellow retired warriors, I was shocked and dismayed that I was callously stripped of my TRICARE Prime health insurance based on simply living too far from a Military Treatment Facility. Those of us who voluntarily served in uniform have paid our dues and have unquestionably earned the right to benefits such as TRICARE Prime in return for being asked (by you and your predecessors) to serve in harms way. It’s no different than dishonoring us by spitting in our faces, particularly when you choose to cut our benefits over so many other goverment funded recipients who have in many cases never contributed at all to our country’s economic, social, or moral well being. Do the right thing and restore TRICARE Prime benefits to those of us military retirees who have unquestionably earned that benefit. Show us who have served, who are currently serving, and who may consider serving in the future that our uniformed service is genuinely appreciated by you and your peers, and that you will ensure that those who sacrifice and answer the call to duty will be taken care of in return.

    • have we forgotton how we should not be paying for medical period. I retired from the Navy in 1993. I have two boys who just turned 18. there was a time I would have encouraged them to join the military. NOT NOW

    • Well said MC Gunz and thank you for your service.

  26. It is sad that yet again our elected officials are tearing away at the
    active and retired military benefits. The "bipartisan" budget deal struck
    by Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) and Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.), is another
    example of this. Our military have earned their benefits. These are not
    "entitlements" given to secure votes of those given hand outs. In the two
    years since my retirement, I have had to wait for veteran's benefits,
    battle to find employment, lost Tricare due to my "geographically-remote"
    location, and now look forward to another cut in retirement benefits. We
    are simply an easy target to secure budget cuts instead of looking at
    wasteful programs. Military, their families, and our veterans are looked
    upon to sacrifice for years of service, then are the first to be singled
    out when cuts are needed. It is even more shameful that some of our
    elected representatives that served are leading this effort. I really
    don't expect someone that hasn't worn the uniform to understand, but do
    not stand up and proclaim that you support us, then not only abandon us on
    the battlefield but when we return as well.

  27. LOOKS LIKE ITS TIME FOR AN ALL BRANCH MILITARY UNION. LETS GET THESE BASTARDS OUT OF CONGRESS AND THE SENATE.

  28. More broken promises. How bout you just give us our youth back to when we enlisted and we can spend that 20 or 30 years of having no permanent home doing something else> We may even be able to recover the marriages we lost because we were never home, watch our children grow up in person instead of pictures and letters, spend all those holidays with family, and maybe even have a mortgage payed of before age 80 since we wouldnt have moved every couple years for decades. Thanks America for the opportunity to serve you.

  29. I believe it is time for a REAL march on Washington D.C.

  30. I JUST WANT TO SAY THAT EACH AND EVERYONE OF YOU VETERANS, WHO NOT ONLY GAVE THERE LIVES FOR US AND THOSE WHO HAVE SCARIFIED, THERE HOMES AND THERE FAMILY FOR US, TO HAVE TO COME HOME AND HAVE THE MAIN THING TAKING AWAY FROM YOU, IS VERY HARSH, I CAN NOT SEE WHY WE HAD TO GIVE UP OUR TRICARE PRIME SERVES, BECAUSE TO ME THE RETIREES HAS EARN TO BE IN THAT TYPE OF PROGRAM. JUST A MAGICIAN YOU TAKE ILL AND THE CLOSEST HOSPITAL OR DOCTOR YOU CAN GET TO IS NOT IN THE 100 / MILES NET-WORTH, SO YOU KNOW WHAT WILL HAPPEN IN THAT SITUATION. SO I BEG OF YOU TO LET THE RETIREES AND THERE FAMILY'S GET BACK IN WITH TIRCARE PRIME.

  31. I do believe that along with term limits on our elected royalty that there should be a requirement that you cannot hold an office of this country until you have served at least 4 years in the military. Just sayin'!

    • Tammy, first, TERM LIMITS, YES!

      Second, I spent two tours at Navy Boot Camps (7 years total), and have come to firmly believe that, after high school graduation (or the age of 18, for those who don't graduate), ALL U. S. Citizens should be REQUIRED to do some form of National Service, whether in the military, as an orderly at a County Hospital, digging drainage ditches in Appalachia, planting trees in National Parks, you name it… AND, they must complete military-style boot camp to then start their two years of service.

      The difference in our young people after going through boot camp is awe-inspiring; the benefits to society of two-year service would be, also.

      • I totally agree. My husband retired from the Army after 22 years and spent 3 of those as a Drill Sergeat. After those three years he was absolutely on board with all US citizens doing some sort of National Service. I complete agree with you.

  32. Term limits. No lifetime Congress people. If elected officials know what it's like to work for a living first hand, decisions made will change for the better for the people.

  33. If congress wants to reduce our COLA, then congress if receiving a retirement COLA should abide by the exact same stipulations as Military retiree's. I think it is very close for the Military active and retired, to begin a Class Action Suit to limit congress's ability to change laws that are changes to our original contract terms.

  34. MASTERCHIEFMO says:

    I have to admin Bleu – Your Points are very well taken.

  35. It is so ridiculous to say that a person needs to still be living n the same zip code to be eligible for Tricare Prime. Many of us have moved several times. This is just another way to screw the Veterans. What does zip code have to do with it. The government should just grandfather all of the vets that are on Tricare prime as Oct. 13th 2013. Then institute the new program for those who registered after the 13th of Oct.

  36. When is it enough? Elected Representives that have never served in our military making decisions for our benefit, really! We as veterns who have no real voice much alone real representation and you ask me to sacrifice for whom, people on welfare or workmans comp who never served with the excuse that they could not pass the test. Shame on the whole lot and thanks for nothing heck our votes don't even count!!

  37. Loretta Cook says:

    I'm one of those who was kicked off of tricare prime but this article is confusing. I live within 100 miles of a military facility. I'm still living at the same address but the one difference is that this is December 17, 2013. I would love to get back on prime but according to this article I'm ineligible. In order to stay on prime I would have to changed doctors people in my health condition just really like to find one doctor and stick with them. I really don't see where this bill is helping those who were disenfranchised.

    • I want back on Prime for the 12.00 co pay rather than 80/20 and pay for every little item extra. I thought the 100 mi had to do w Standard, so I totally don't understand, plus when do we know if the vote passed for our one time back in?

  38. Tricare prime… yeah, they even raised the annual price to secure access to care in an MTF. Now they want to get your money by re-enrolling you back after being disenfranchised without the opportunity to fight for promised benefits if you made a career in the military. As much as VFW and the Legion pound on their chest defending what was promised to us… they showed no resolve and allowed increase and now we are looking at reduced pay raises approved by our sweet congress. I for one dis-enrolled myself from Tricare Prime to Tricare Standard and will haunt the MTF until space availability is given to me. Soon I will be Medicare obligated to pay for part B and that will increase substantially what I was paying for Prime. What the hell, they will take it out of Social Security. But this Zip Code crap is what it is and unfair to those that serve the nation. Then again, this is what redistribution is about as they sway us to feel sorry for those healthy young folks who don't need or want to pay for health care and those that just live smooching off the taxpayers purse. Did you know they want you to believe that your retired pay and benefits are part of the nations welfare system and thus you also are as much a leech as those who never lift a finger to do for themselves. Time to march in DC!!!

  39. sonja Silipino says:

    What is the difference between "Tricare for Life" for retirees and "Tricare Prime" ?

    • Tricare Prime is for military retirees under the age of eligibility to enroll in Medicare. Once you are of Medicare age you can no longer select Prime. You therefore move over to Tricare for Life which will pick up what medicare doesn't pay – coinsurance,deductibles.

  40. Bottom line is we literally signed a legal binding contract that put our life on the line. Agreed to go ANYWHERE (certainly not just a 100 mile radius) and for many of us, we signed based on the package benefits stated IN THAT CONTRACT. If at any time we would have broke our end of that"legal" contract you can bet your ass we would have been court martialed. Congress has just redefined the legality of ALL "legal contracts right? What good is my mortgage contract? So what if I signed the bank papers. I mean really!!! It's all downright illegal!! Nice to see the benefits keep rolling for those welfare folks who spend the day on the sofa, and occasionally put their life on the line for a daring refrigerator run.

  41. Mr. Howell, I saw the article saying that the Senate has sent the Defense Bill to the White House. Any update on what the final verbiage is for the Tricare issue in regards to the one time re-enroll in Tricare Prime and all of that jazz? Thank you!!!!

  42. David Rivera says:

    I agree that they should have grandfather all vets that were on Tricare prime as Oct 2013. We got the short end of the stick again.

    • I am still confused on this..i live 120 miles from a MTF so do I get my Tricare prime back or not..or do I have to live within a 100 miles

  43. CMSGT Buzz says:

    I agree with ALMOST everything you say here, Sam. I had called and written to my Senators and Congressmen here in MN because I was so PO'd that one guy who fought in a foxhole gets to keep Prime, and the guy that fought next to him, in that SAME foxhole, but unlucky enough to have lived in a NOW arbitrarily ineligible zip code (BS!!!), LOSES Prime! I was that "second guy"! I got no response from my politicians, which made me even madder!

    But much later, I saw the blurb about TriCare Prime reinstatement in Military.com this week. I was surprised and VERY happy to see (in the article above) that the S. 1078 bill removing the zip code requirement for pre-Oct. 1 Prime enrollees who wish to get their TriCare Prime coverage back, was actually introduced by one of MY Senators…Amy Klobuchar! Since a separate bill already cleared the House, and since Sen. Klobuchar's bill is co-sponsored by 5 other Democrat Senators, it "appears" that this bill has an excellent chance of passing! Then, of course, we have to worry about the President signing it into law.

    Okay, Sam…now the part that I disagree with you on. It was your entire last sentence, actually. I don't understand why ANYONE who wore the uniform, and served our country honorably, shouldn't have full rights to Prime coverage! NO EXCEPTIONS!!! Screw that damn zip code and date BS! That would be doing to them exactly the same thing that happened to us…some get it, and some don't…and that is grossly unfair and unacceptable!!!

    Thanks to all of you for serving so honorably and proudly. I'm proud to be numbered among you!

    • CMSGT Buzz says:

      Actually, the wording in BOTH the Senate and the House versions would do away with the "zip code/100 mile" requirement. EITHER would allow those of us who lost Prime BECAUSE of that requirement, back on 1 October, to go right back to Prime the way it was for us before we got screwed.

      Remember, though, that for some dumb reason, the only requirement appears to be that you must live, when electing to get Prime back, in the same zip code that you were living in when they took Prime away. I don't believe, from the wording, that it means you have to always stay there after you get back into Prime.

      • I like to remind my Senators and Congressmen that THEY have free medical and dental for life after they serve 6 years in Congress. Those of us who served 20+ years don't have that "privilege". I remind them that they work for us, not the other way around. I pull no punches when it comes to reminding them, either.

        • I'm all for bashing Congress….there is plenty to work with in that area BUT they do not get free medical and dental. They pay the same premiums that retired federal employees do.

      • Everyone please pay attention to what CMDGT Buzz has said..after reading the wording on the the bill he talks about he is correct..the key word in the bill is notwithstanding..Those of us who were booted of Tricare prime will get it back..Like being Grandfathered. If you moved after oct first it seems you will not get it back. we have to be patient.do you expect DOD to hop right on this..they were the ones who booted us. Mr Hagel can kiss my ass. the president has passed the bill..i doubt they will mess with Tricare prime again anytime soon. too many raised hell on this one

        • Should they remove the 100 mile thing then yes, we should all be able to make the reselection BUT what you have to remember is that all of the contracts expired. It SHOULD be as easy as getting all of those contracts and just asking to start them back up but unfortunately it is not. They will have to renegotiate contracts with all health care facilities/physicans groups. That could take a minute.

          • RespectVets says:

            “(4) NETWORK —In continuing enrollment in TRICARE Prime pursuant to paragraph (1), the Secretary may determine whether to maintain a TRICARE network of providers in an area that is between 40 and 100 miles of a military medical treatment facility.”

            My former doctor was both Tricare Prime and Standard and is now only Standard. Hoping they will make this last fix and that it won't be a long minute.

  44. MN1 A.R.B. RET.NAVY says:

    Question: What difference does it make how far away from a MTF that a RETIRED PERSON live? WE had doctors and medical offices that were seeing us before this all came about without any problems. NOW, am I supposed to sell my house an move closer to an MTF ?? THIS MAKES NO SENSE, THE PEOPLE THAT REALLY NEED TRICARE PRIME ARE THE ONE'S THAT LIVE AWAY FROM THE M.T.F.s because when we get ill we can't drive 200 miles to get to one..

  45. Are we ever going to get an update on this?

    • I guess since he dose not think he will get Tricare prime back he has lost interest in updating

      • That's the problem with all this. We need a unified strong military presence to fight to see we stop getting screwed and to reinstate what was taken. Something in the lines of a union of all us complaining to actually do something instead of lip service

    • I called Tri-North today (Dec 26 2013) and they new nothing about it..

      • I called tri south and they wanted all my update info..then they said they heard things about it but had no info on it..so typical

      • When we were being given the boot off of tricare prime they didn't know anything either. So freaking annoying!

    • I am w all, don't know how or when to find out, we probly have only a short window of time?

    • 30 yr retiree USN says:

      talked with Tri Care, sent to DEERS then sent to Defense Health Agency 1 703-681-1770 after some conversation someone in that office "sort of" acknowleged the bill and stated they are trying to interpret, our gov at work never ceases to amaze me! The Defense Health Agency seems to be the foks that would direct policy to Ti Care. Maybe if enough people insisted on some answers a press release would be forthcoming! 1-8-2014

  46. The President just signed the 2014 NDAA an hour ago..now if we can get the real info on which retirees get Tricare prime back..so confusing I live more then a 100 miles away from a MTF and still don't know if I qualify..i called Tricare south and they don't want to say anything

  47. My husband and I are some of those kicked off Prime also. Both are retired E-7's. Have you seen the fees they are going to hike them to? I have purchased a supplement that together we pay 100 a month. I gotta say, I am staying on standard even if given the options. The new future fees are outrageous.

    • could you please tell me who you have your supplement with..i would like to check into that..i never thought of this before,,your would think that since your both retired you would at least get some fees paid.the govt make out on two retires that are married

    • Those fees are the proposed fees by the POTUS. They aren't jacking up the fees yet. But also be aware…..as soon as they kicked us off of Prime and threw us onto Standard the POTUS also requested an annual fee for Tricare Standard as well.

      • I am aware he tried to raise rates,,but at least congress didn't allow that in the 1014 NDAA bill..now as far as being kicked off Tricare prime you will probably be allowed to sign back up. The president did sign the NDAA bill for 2014 and Tricare needs to post some info on this passage..well Humana Military should I suppose. my guess is Humana is full of democrats

    • I would also like to know where you purchased this supplement. However, I am hoping our government does the right thing and allows all 171,000 the option to reenroll in Tricare Prime.

  48. I was promised V.A. Health benefits for life when I enlisted in 1973. Got screwed out of that.

  49. come on folks POTUS needs to pay for his ACA some how!!!! Just take a deep breath and vote every son of a bitch out and keep voting them out until they get the message.

  50. recreatorll says:

    I just got kicked off and my wife didn't. We're both retired. i was in the middle of getting surgery when they kicked me now it will cost me three times as much

    • Are you under a single account, or did you sign up for a family account? Something doesn't seem right if she's still on TRICARE Prime and you aren't………

  51. Does anyone have an update on the tricare prime reinstatement fo those that were kicked off in 2013?

    • I have been trying to find the same info T Matts..i live outside the 100 mile radius from a MTF..i am in Knoxville tn..I hope we get some good news soon..makes me mad we haven't had some news by now..lets hope this isn't another pig in a poke from our dear uncle

  52. I am totally confused, I was kicked off Tricare prime but I live within 10 miles of a MTF. So, should I have been able to stay on Tricare prime? My doctor is the same.

  53. I live outside the 100-mile radius and am still on Tri-Care Standard. My question is–am I supposed to be on Tri-Care prime and if so why haven't I been reinstated yet? Anybody have anything that would help I surely would appreciate it if they could send me an E-Mail explaining what–if anything–I need to do. Thanks.

    • good question James. The great DOD is dragging their feet it seems..This new DHA Defense Health Agency sure likes to toot their horn on how trivare care is getting so much better,,,such BS

  54. Oh yeah, we had prime and all of a sudden we have to visit military facilities for care and have to change doctors? We have been using these same doctors for years and I don't care what anyone says, being familiar with your medical history and being comfortable with your doctors means a lot. Why should we have to change? Why are we the "target" one more time? Why do our sacrifices all of a sudden mean so little? My husband was constantly in a war zone it seems and constantly gone and we did what we needed to do as a family to adjust with every change, every move, every deployment… Now we are getting older (60's) and we all of a sudden aren't valuable enough and start losing our "privileged benefits" as these idiots in office seem to think of them. We signed a waiver for mileage and we've used the express scripts to save money for prescriptions and we've gone by all the "rules" and now we're being punished. We would do it over. We are proud to be a retired military family. But at what cost now?

  55. The problem is that we (retirees and veterans) don't have anything remotely as powerful as the defense contractors when it comes to influencing Congress. Money talks and corporations like Boeing or McDonnell-Douglas can throw billions of dollars while our lobbies (American Legion, VFW, etc.) can only threaten them by our votes which are typically split along party lines. Not only that but far too often there is confusion about which politician is actually "pro-military" versus which politician is "pro-military defense contractor". My Congressman for example (Mac Thornberry, R-Tx) could care less about veterans but he always manages to wrap himself in the American flag and appeal to the patriotism of his constituents. As a result when issues like Tri-Care Prime come up he could care less. He has his health care and pension paid for by the government and that's all he cares about.

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