NGAUS Opposes TRICARE Prime Plan

NGAUS Washington Report

(July 16, 2013) Legislation in both chambers of Congress offers an alternative to a plan by TRICARE Management Activity at the Pentagon to remove tens of thousands of beneficiaries from the TRICARE Prime program.

NGAUS supports the legislative efforts and made that known last week in a letter to Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., who authored the Keep Faith with TRICARE Prime Act, S. 1078, in the Senate in May. The bill is similar to one in the House that was introduced the same month by Rep. John Kline, R-Minn. That bill is H.R. 1971.

The legislation would give 170,000 beneficiaries who would lose TRICARE Prime under the agency’s plan an opportunity to remain on TRICARE Prime if they prefer.

The TRICARE plan would remove some people from PRIME on Oct. 1 and enroll them in TRICARE Standard, which is more expensive and has a more limited network of providers.

In the letter to Klobuchar, retired Maj. Gen. Gus L. Hargett Jr., the NGAUS president, said, “This will mean longer driving distances to obtain health care for those retirees in rural areas who cannot find providers nearby who accept Standard. This is not acceptable.”

In announcing his legislation, Kline said, “Promises made should be promises kept and the Pentagon should not break faith with our nation’s heroes.”

TRICARE Management Activity offers information about its plan at http://tricare.mil/psa.