New TRICARE Prime Enrollees Pay Adjusted Annual Fees

From a Defense Department News Release

WASHINGTON, Sept. 30, 2011 - Military retirees enrolling in the TRICARE Prime health plan after Oct. 1 will begin paying slightly higher annual fees, Pentagon officials announced yesterday.

The fee change for fiscal 2012 means the plan will cost $260 per year for members and $520 per year for members and family.

The increase amounts to an additional $2.50 per month for individual members and $5 per month for members and family, officials said. Active duty service members receive health care with no out-of-pocket costs.

Annual fees for retirees enrolled in TRICARE Prime prior to the Oct. 1 change will remain at $230 and $460 until Oct. 1, 2012, officials said. Retirees in Tricare PRIME have a catastrophic cap of $3,000, and TRICARE Prime co-pays are not changing, they added.

"We are committed to offering the best possible health care system for our entire military family," said Dr. Jonathan Woodson, assistant secretary of defense for health affairs. "This modest annual fee increase allows us to responsibly manage our costs in line with other secretary of defense initiatives announced earlier this year."

Survivors of active duty deceased sponsors and medically retired services members and their dependents will be exempt from an annual increase, effective from the time they renew their enrollment or first enroll in TRICARE Prime, officials said, noting that the TRICARE benefit is among the nation's most affordable health care plans. All service members, military retirees and their eligible family members have TRICARE benefits regardless of prior health conditions.

"The department is committed to maintaining the same unique health care protection we have always offered our warriors, both current and retired," Woodson said. "To sustain our military health system we are working hard to streamline, become more efficient, and achieve cost savings. Together, we can manage our costs responsibly and continue to provide care for our service members, retirees and their families."

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