Lawmakers seeking guidance from military associations on whether to support the new Defense Department plan to raise TRICARE Prime enrollment fees modestly for working-age retirees next year, and then to adjust them annually for inflation, will get mixed signals this time around.
Joyce Wessel Raezer, national director of the National Military Family Association, is not alone in calling the fee hikes of $60 a year for under-age-65 retiree families and $30 for individual coverage “amazingly reasonable.”
She noted that the higher fees would affect only the managed care program and the “most vulnerable” users — those medically retired and surviving spouses — still would see no increase. No hikes are sought for the TRICARE Standard, the traditional fee-for-service benefit, or for TRICARE for Life, the prized supplement to Medicare available for elderly retirees.
TRICARE fees haven’t been raised since 1995. Assuming increases are inevitable at some point, Raezer said, accepting these “surprisingly small” increases now, when the military is so deeply appreciated, is better than waiting until lawmakers come “looking for a peace dividend.”