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'Modest' TRICARE Increases

Last month, Defense Secretary Gates hinted at a 2012 DoD budget plan which would include “modest” increases in TRICARE fees. Many of us have been waiting to hear what Sec. Gates meant by “modest.” On February 15, the DoD released the proposed defense budget; we now know that modest means – about $60 a year.

If passed by congress, TRICARE Prime enrollment fees for retiree families would go from $460 to $520 per year; and enrollment for single retirees would go from $230 to $260 per year. The increases do not apply to active-duty military families and members, or retirees past age 65 – only retirees enrolled in TRICARE Prime.

This increase is indeed modest, however, beginning with next year’s increases in the annual enrollment fees for military retirees under 65, the Pentagon wants to continue to chip away at the costs over the next five years. So what comes next?

According to a Military.com article, DoD Proposes Higher TRICARE Fees, DoD officials intend to begin indexing – incrementally increasing – the enrollment fees over the next five years to bring the fees up to cover the actual costs.

Many military retirees oppose any increase in TRICARE fees, but there are retirees who get that the current rate is unsustainable. Visit the Military.com Legislative Center to send an e-mail to congress to let them know where you line up on this issue.

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