Cutting doctor’s fees cause for concern

By Tom Philpott: Military Update Lawmakers took steps this past week to put military people at ease over how TRICARE benefits will be protected and, for older children, how coverage likely will be expanded as the Obama administration implements the new national health care reform law. But Congress continued to take only clumsy temporary steps [...]

Pay raises, fee increases proposed

By Tom Philpott: PNT columnist The Obama administration proposes to spend three percent more next year on support programs for war-strained military families. But officials are urging Congress to stop adding extra dollars to the military pay raise every January and find a way to raise TRICARE fees for the first time in 15 years. [...]

Current TRICARE contracts extended

By Tom Philpott: PNT columnist Six million military health care beneficiaries learned last July that their TRICARE support contractor would be changing on April 1, 2010, because those companies that run TRICARE’s North and South Regions had lost in competing for the next generation of contracts. But what a difference six months makes. Government auditors [...]

Ethics issues surface for TRICARE

By Tom Philpott: PNT columnist Aetna Government Health Plans of Hartford, Conn., appears to have gained an unfair advantage in competing for TRICARE’s North Region support contract, valued at $16.7 billion, by hiring a former chief of staff at TRICARE headquarters to help the company draft its winning proposal. The Government Accountability Office, auditing arm [...]

TRICARE fee increases blocked

By Tom Philpott: PNT columnist The last decision made by House-Senate conferees negotiating final details on a fiscal 2010 defense authorization bill was to insert language that will rollback an announced Oct. 1 increase in fees charged to TRICARE Standard beneficiaries for stays in civilian hospitals. The surprise fee increases, reported here last week, gave [...]

TRICARE increase stuns retirees

By Tom Philpott: Military Update Defense health officials didn’t do the Obama administration any favor last week when they announced a “small” increase in the daily fee that military retirees under 65, their families and covered survivors must pay for inpatient care in civilian hospitals under TRICARE Standard starting Oct. 1. The jump, in fact, [...]

Protests delay provider transition

By Tom Philpott: Military Update Transition to new managed-care support contractors for 6 million TRICARE beneficiaries across 30 states has been halted while the Government Accountability Office reviews protests filed by losing bidders. TRICARE Management Activity (TMA) announced last month that Aetna Government Health Plans of Hartford, Conn., won the contract competition and would be [...]

National health plan won’t hit TRICARE

By Tom Philpott: PNT columnist President Obama says his push to reform the nation’s health care system will not diminish health benefits for service families or retirees who use TRICARE, or for veterans who rely on VA hospitals and clinics. In fact, he suggested, as health reform takes hold across the country, veterans who, for [...]

New contractors for TRICARE

By Tom Philpott: Military update Six million military health care beneficiaries, those who live in TRICARE’s North and South regions, will have new managed care support contractors and claim processors to deal with by April. In a surprise development, two of three current TRICARE contractors — Health Net Federal Services and Humana Military Healthcare Services [...]

Deputy rates TRICARE ‘C+ or B-’

By Tom Philpott: PNT columnist Too many beneficiaries of the military direct-care health system still can’t get timely appointments, or reach doctors after hours, or establish a close family-doctor relationship with a single military physician or group. For these reasons and more , Army Maj. Gen. (Dr.) Elder Granger, deputy director of TRICARE and a [...]