The Senate Armed Services Committee has completed their mark-up of the National Defense Authorization Act of 2012 (HR 1540). The committee approved the marked-up bill unanimously on Thursday, June 16, 2011. It now goes to the full Senate for consideration. The bill includes a 1.6 percent pay increase for all servicemembers, a change in special pay policy and increased TRICARE Prime enrollment fees for military retirees.
The following is a list of the elements that will impact military pay and benefits:
- Authorizes a 1.6 percent across-the-board military pay raise for all members of the uniformed services, consistent with the President’s request.
- Allows DoD to increase pharmacy copayment increases. (See current TRICARE Pharmacy Rates)
- Allows DoD to increase military retiree TRICARE Prime enrollment fees in fiscal year 2012. In addition the Senate mark-up limits future annual increases of the fee to the amount equal to the percentage increase in retired pay (COLA) beginning on October 1, 2012. (See previous reports on the proposed 2012 TRICARE Prime enrollment rate)
- Requires that individuals newly enrolled in the Uniformed Services Family Health Plan after September 30, 2011, transition to TRICARE for Life once they become Medicare-eligible due to age. (See previous reports on the plan to "Age-Out" future USFHP enrollees)
- Changes the rules for hostile fire and imminent danger pay, prorating the $225 payments according to the number of days spent in a qualifying area rather than be paid on a monthly basis. (Currently HF/ID pay is paid-in-full regardless of the number of days spent in the qualifying area.)