Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Structural Changes to TRICARE Management

The Reserve Officers Association met at the Pentagon with Dr. Jonathan Woodson, Assistant Secretary of Defense (Health Affairs) & Director of TRICARE Management Activity about changes to the military health program.  ROA was one of ten associations who were briefed about structural changes to the management of TRICARE.

This meeting follows up on proposed changes to TRICARE fees that would affect families of serving members and military retirees.  The Pentagon has requested increases to annual enrollment fees for TRICARE Prime based on the national rate of medical inflation, and wants to start annual enrollment fees for TRICARE Standard and TRICARE for Life.  Annual increase based on the medical index would also affect Pharmacy copayments, and TRICARE Standard deductibles. 

ROA is following the health care issues as it evolves.  The Association will be meeting with professional staff member later this week to get a better understanding of how Congress is responding to the Pentagon’s recommendations.

Later in the month, ROA will be submitting testimony about health care coverage and the proposed fees.  By the end of the month ROA will begin a grassroots letter campaign to Congress about the fee proposals.

Secretary Woodson briefed about a Pentagon report to Congress proposing changes to aspects of Military Health System Governance.  With as overall goal of achieving efficiencies, the proposal would shift military health treatment away from purchased care, back to Military Treatment Facilities.  A defense health agency would take over the functions of the TRICARE Management Activity, assuming responsibilities for implementing shared services across the TRICARE system.  By combining shared services it is hoped that costs could be brought down.  Another proposed reform would establish market managers for multiservice medical markets.


Mike Peterson said...

Increasing costs for TRICARE seems a necessity, but those on TRICARE For Life are already paying Medicare premiums. That should be taken into account as the two are inextricably intertwined.
CAPT M.D. Peterson, USN (Ret.)

CJ said...

Tricare has really gone downhill since 4-5 years ago. Then it was very smooth and organized. Now it is a disaster in my experience. The rate increases should be limited to retiree's COLA.

Larry G DeVries said...

Uniformed military personnel are all medically-screened before entry. It is difficult to believe that military personnel themselves, except for combat-caused medical care, are causing significant cost increases.

The pay for uniformed doctors, nurses and medical service personnel in each of the service branches presumably add some level of cost control to medical-care delivery.

Are the cost increases primarily combat-related? Dependent-care-related? Age-group related? Are cost increases due to medical service-contractors? Are purchased-medical-supplies and pharmaceuticals driving costs? Are costs higher at bases in out-CONUS host-countries?

I would hope the contributors to the DoD medical-system cost increases are investigated first - and the causes made known in detail - before any solutions are proposed.