ROA's Legislative Director, CAPT Marshall Hanson, USNR (Ret.) attended a briefing by TRICARE Management Activity (TMA) last week. Despite a request by ROA and several other associations to be briefed on TRICARE standard access for gray area retirees, this DoD agency decided instead to brief on the implementation process and resulting timetable. TMA claims that it takes between 16 to 29 months to implement a new program. Pressed during questioning, TMA informed the attending associations that an initial final rule on TRICARE Retired Reserve (TRR) has been sent to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) for review and approval. OMB has 90 days to review. If an interim approach is rejected, then the package is sent back to TMA, is revised and OMB gets a second chop, restarting the 90 day clock. Unfortunately, this casts doubt that TRICARE for gray area retirees will slide out further into the late fall, with TMA admitting that the suggested Oct. 1 start date is "soft".
In related news, Rep. Bob Latta (R-Ohio) sent a letter to the Secretary of Defense reflecting his concerns of the delays in implementation. Rep. Latta was the original sponsor of legislation on TRICARE for gray area retirees.