Panel Recommends TriCare Fee Increase

By Kelly Kennedy – Staff writer –

After months of hearings in which lawmakers have repeatedly declared their opposition to increasing Tricare fees for some beneficiaries, an interim report from a Defense Health Board task force recommends just that.

The report from the Defense Department’s Task Force on the Future of Military Healthcare recommends:

•Increasing drug co-pays for those who don’t use the Tricare Mail Order Pharmacy program or generic prescription drugs.

•Increasing costs for those who get their prescriptions filled outside the military system.

•Raising out-of-pocket expenses for retirees under age 65 — but giving them a one-time increase in retired pay to offset part or all of the higher expenses.

•Index annually the premiums and deductibles paid by under-65 retirees to account for inflation, and increase military retired pay to help with those higher costs.

•Increase premiums and cost shares for under-65 retirees to a level comparable to private-sector health insurance plans.

•Create a tiered-payment system for under-65 retirees based on their retired paygrades.

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