Late Breaking News
TRICARE Currently Tied to Medicare Rates Threatened by Debt Deal Cont.
Tricare Civilian Providers May Be Impacted
Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta said at a Aug. 4 news conference that, while the reductions in the defense budget that were enacted as part of the debt-ceiling agreement are what DoD leaders were preparing to implement, any further cuts that would be triggered if Congress does not come to an agreement, “would result in a further round of very dangerous cuts across the board.” Those defense cuts, he said, would “do real damage to our security, our troops and their families, and our military's ability to protect the nation.”\
Family members of active-duty servicemembers, and retirees and their families receiving their care at the MTF would not be impacted by changes to Medicare rates. But, if they get their care from network or non-network providers, “they may see some changes if providers leave the network or decline to see TRICARE patients,” Dwyer said.
“It is in situations like these where the law allows TRICARE to negotiate higher rates for our providers. Consequently, family members and retirees and their families can continue to receive the healthcare they need from civilian providers,” he wrote.
“TRICARE for Life (TFL) beneficiaries (those age 65 and older) may be impacted if fewer providers accept Medicare. TFL beneficiaries, who use Medicare providers and have both Medicare Part A and purchase Medicare Part B, have no out of pocket expense (except for the monthly Part B fee). However, if they are unable to use a Medicare provider, TFL beneficiaries may incur higher health care costs,” he wrote.
Military beneficiary groups are not taking any chances on what could happen to Medicare. The Military Officers Association of America wrote on its website that it is “especially concerned” about what will happen if Congress does not reach a deal by December 23 and how this will impact Tricare and Medicare providers.
The organization encouraged troops and veterans to send a MOAA-suggested message to urge their elected officials to “resist initiatives that would undermine the all volunteer force and readiness.”
“Please ensure ongoing deficit reduction initiatives don’t undermine long-term national security by devastating these vital incentives for career military service,” the suggested form message stated.