Obama’s Proposed Budget Will Affect TRICARE

American flag President Obama has created a budget that involves cuts to military health care spending. It appears that the plan includes an annual increase to the cost of premiums for TRICARE which could get as high as 345% of the current cost. It has been said that this increase dishonors veterans.

TRICARE is a government run health insurance plan that is available for members of the United States Department of Defense Military Health Care System. This insurance provides health insurance benefits for current military personnel, for their dependents, and for military retirees, (who are also called Veterans). TRICARE is the civilian care portion of the Military Heath System.

The Obama administration has created a budget that includes several cuts. This budget includes around $487 billion in cuts that will be enacted over the next ten years. Congress has yet to approve this particular budget. One of those cuts is going to directly impact TRICARE.

One of the most controversial aspects of the proposed budget cuts is the part that would directly affect military retirees. It would, over several years, increase the cost of their TRICARE health insurance premiums. In the first year, the annual premium would increase by anywhere from 30% to 78%. After that, the premium would increase to 94% to as much as 345% the original price. If I am understanding correctly, the increases would be presented as a tiered enrollment fee structure.

It has been said that this scenario shows a great dishonor to people who are currently in the military as well as people who are retired military veterans. Increasing the cost of their health insurance premiums does is not a way to thank a person who has served his or her country. It shows a lack of respect.

It has also been said that this system would be harmful to the military’s ability to recruit new troops. One of the ways to encourage young adults to join a branch of the military is to offer that person benefits that are difficult for people to find, or afford, as a civilian. There are thousands of Americans who are unable to find affordable health insurance. If the cost of TRICARE is going to increase by as much as 345%, it becomes undesirable.

Again, this budget has not yet been passed. It needs to be reviewed by the Senate and the House of Representatives first. Each one would have to vote to pass this budget, and then it would be sent to the President to sign. For now, the increase to the TRICARE premiums is a frightening possibility, (but not yet a certainty).

Image by Moultrie Creek on Flickr