House nixes proposed Tricare cost increase for veterans

Matt Saintsing
July 30, 2018 - 5:15 pm

U.S. Army photo by Maria Yage

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Buried in the annual defense authorization bill was a provision that would have suddenly increased TRICARE costs for nearly a million military retirees. But the House came to the rescue and squashed it.

The proposal would have risen annual costs to the tune of a few hundreds of dollars a year for retirees who use Tricare Select.

Retirees who do not live close to a military hospital must use the Tricare Select program. The healthcare plan was intended to help retirees and family members by grandfathering them into newer plans or having lower fees.

But while they were briefly safe from burgeoning enrollment fees, the out-of-pocket costs were set at a much higher rate than those who joined Tricare after the New Year. In other words, those who enrolled in Tricare were told they would have been expected to pay one price, only to have the costs rise dramatically if the bill became law.

Thankfully, the House of Representatives removed that provision after fervent lobbying by military and veterans groups.

The Congressional Budget Office (CBO), an arm of Congress that provides economic and budgetary advice to lawmakers, estimated that out-of-pocket costs would skyrocket from $1,645 to more than $2,700 annually for family coverage, and nearly double from $570 to $1,160 for individual coverage.

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