Hurdles remain high for TriCare

By Tom Philpott The Defense Department’s top health official believes that “within the next year or two” TRICARE fees, co-pays and deductibles will “begin to gradually go up” for military retirees. But Dr. S. Ward Casscells, assistant secretary of defense for health affairs, also says he “has a lot of sympathy with” the argument of […]

Retro pay reaches $31,000, averages $1,500

By Tom Philpott : Military Update Two months into a year-long review of pay records and disability compensation histories for 140,000 military retirees have produced a total of $45 million in back pay to 31,000 disabled retirees, say officials in charge. The lump-sum payments average about $1,500. Ten retirees have received more than $25,000 each, […]

Distributing retroactive pay complicated matter

By Tom Philpott: Guest Columist The departments of Defense and Veterans Affairs have worked out a plan for sharing the cost and the task of delivering about $500 million in back pay to more than 100,000 military retirees with VA-rated disabilities. The retroactive payments are owed to nearly half of all recipients of Combat-Related Special […]

Days may be numbered for “10-year rule”

By Tom Philpott: Military Update The Senate Armed Services Committee has voted to end the “10-year rule” used by the government for more than two decades to screen court orders seeking automatic payment of retired pay to former military spouses. The change is one of three adjustments to the Uniformed Services Former Spouses Protection Act […]

Cannon pharmacy keeps meds on the move

Airman 1st Class Charles John, Cannon pharmacy, demonstrates how pharmacists and technicians use recipes to “cook” on the job. Janet Taylor-Birkey On this day, more than 210 prescriptions wait to be filled by the Component Health Care System (CHCS), a computer system for prescriptions at the Cannon pharmacy, and the clinic staff have not seen […]

BRAC could mean higher medical costs

By Tom Philpott More than 128,000 military beneficiaries taking Viagra or Cialis for erectile dysfunction likely will have to switch this fall to Levitra or face higher co-payments on their prescriptions. The Defense Department’s Pharmacy and Therapeutics Committee will recommend in mid-July that Dr. William Winkenwerder Jr., the Pentagon’s top health official, narrow the field […]

Officials want to raise TRICARE co-payments and fees

By Tom Philpott : PNT columnist Defense Department officials say it’s time users of military health care pay a greater share of rising medical costs, perhaps through higher co-payments and enrollment fees that haven’t been raised since TRICARE, the military’s managed care program, began a decade ago. In an interview, Dr. William Winkenwerder, Jr., assistant […]

June 14 Military Update

By Tom Philpott The Defense Advisory Committee on Military Compensation has adopted an “action plan” to study private-sector-like changes to military pay and retirement, the kind that Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld has endorsed for several years. The committee of seven “eminent authorities in the fields of compensation,” as described by the department, adopted an agenda […]