8 October 2016 From Lew Nyman,
Alabama Council of MOAA Chapters.
Survivor, Other Changes Coming:
By: Click to read about the author.
About the Author
We'll have to wait at least another six weeks before Congress
makes final decisions on the force levels, pay raise, TRICARE fees, and other
changes in the FY 2017 Defense Authorization Act. But we can be pretty sure of
at least some of the new changes because they were included in both of the bill
versions passed by the House and Senate. Based on the above, here is what we
expect the new defense bill will require.
TRICARE Standard will have a new name (possibly TRICARE
Preferred) and be reconstituted as a preferred provider network, which means
some charges will be higher for visits with doctors who aren't in the new
version of TRICARE Standard/Preferred will have an annual enrollment
requirement. If you're under 65 and in TRICARE Standard now, you've never
had to explicitly enroll. If you didn't enroll in the HMO-style TRICARE
Prime, you were automatically covered under Standard. No more.
This is important: starting in 2017,
retirees and family members under 65 will have to sign a document to enroll
in either the version of Standard/Preferred or TRICARE Prime. If you don't
actively enroll in one or the other, you and your family won't be covered by
TRICARE. So you'll need to pay attention to notices about the annual
enrollment period, starting next year.|
No later than January 2020, retired enrollees in the new
version of TRICARE Standard/Preferred will have an annual enrollment fee.
Again, this will be new, as Standard currently has no enrollment fee. If the
House plan prevails in the final bill, the annual enrollment fee for 2020
will be $100/$200 for single/family. There is a possibility it could be
more, depending on continuing negotiations between the House and Senate.|
Military medical facilities will be implementing a variety of
initiatives to improve access to and quality of care, including a
standardized appointment system, more use of telehealth services, adoption
of common quality/performance measures, and displays of emergency room wait
We fully expect the
current Special Survivor Indemnity Allowance (SSIA) - $310 per month as of this
month - won't be allowed to expire next year. It will be extended for at least
one year, which gives us another shot at seeking a further extension and
continued increases in the SSIA amount to make more progress toward eliminating
the SBP-DIC offset, which is our ultimate goal.
The commissary system will be testing “house brands” and a variable pricing
system. This means shoppers at some locations might see increases and others
might see decreases, although Congress still requires commissaries maintain the
same overall levels of beneficiary savings and satisfaction.
Both bills give service secretaries more flexibility to pay higher
reimbursements, on a case-by-case basis, to members traveling beyond normal