Now military retirees' health care threatened

By |
Politics,Paul Bedard,Washington Secrets

Hidden by the much bigger headline warnings about Obamacare's impact, military retirees who have their own health care system are facing radical changes and cost hikes due to Pentagon budget cuts.

In one of the most buzzed- and tweeted-about issues this week, the Pentagon is looking to dump 171,000 retirees out of the popular TRICARE Prime managed care program and into TRICARE Standard, the fee-for-service insurance option. The result could be significantly higher costs.

A story on military.com revealed the military's planning, explaining that retirees who live beyond 40-miles of a military base of medical facility will be hit. That's because many remote contractors offering TRICARE Prime will be terminated. The offices could start closing as early as next October.

Active duty and their families will not be impacted.

military.com broke down the costs this way:

Under TRICARE Prime, beneficiaries get managed care through providers in the network. They pay an annual enrollment fee of $269.28 for individual coverage or $538.56 for family coverage. Retirees and family members also are charged co-pays of $12 for each doctor visit.

Under TRICARE Standard, beneficiaries can choose their own physicians and pay no annual enrollment fee. But when they need care, retirees must cover 25 percent of allowable charges. Retirees also have an annual deductible of $150 for the individual or $300 per family. Total out-of-pocket costs, however, are capped at $3000 per family.