The Department of Defense has been pushing for TRICARE fee increases for nearly a year. This week military retirees who choose to enroll in TRICARE Prime will be required to pay an additional $2.50 per month for individual members and $5 per month for members and family. The increase takes the annual premium rate from $230 (individual) and $460 (family) to $260 and $520 respectively. Currently enrolled retirees will begin paying the new annual enrollment fees in January 2012.
The same week TRICARE announced their new TRICARE Prime enrollment fees, the administration proposed a brand new $200 annual fee for TRICARE for Life (the Medicare supplement for military retirees and their dependents who are older than 65). If adopted, this new enrollment fee would be charged beginning in 2013, and it would gradually increase. According to the White House the proposal would save $6.7 billion over 10 years.
The White House also proposed a new TRICARE prescription medication co-pay structure. Under the plan retirees would see co-pays rise based a percentage formula tied to government costs. According to a report by Tom Philpott, generic drugs at retail would be set at 10 percent of the Defense Department's cost for the medicine and this would climb to 20 percent after 2013. Co-pays for brand names would start at 15 percent of cost and be raised to 30 percent over an as yet unspecified period.