Keeping fees means cutting force

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If Congress blocks Defense Department plans to raise TRICARE fees for military retirees and beneficiary co-pays on drug prescriptions filled off base, the services will have to make even deeper cuts in force strength than now planned, the military’s top health official told lawmakers last week. “Given the constraints of the Budget Control Act, if […]

Budget may raise TRICARE costs

Out-of-pocket health care costs for military retirees and for users of the TRICARE retail pharmacy network would jump next October if Congress approves President Obama’s fiscal 2013 budget request delivered last week. Annual active duty pay raises also would be impacted but not until January 2015 when raise caps would begin and last three years. […]

Club notes — April 17

Curry County Association Curry County Association of Educational Retirees met April 4 at Furr’s. The meeting was opened with prayer and pledges to the American flag and the New Mexico flag. Dianne Davis introduced Rebecca Reid-Carlyle, who gave a program on reverse mortgages. The reverse mortgage plan was explained step by step and who is […]

Reader submitted content: Local teachers recognized at state convention

By Faye Keener The Roosevelt County Association of Educational Retirees, along with the Curry County retirees, hosted the Sixty-eighth Annual Convention of the New Mexico Association of Educational Retirees (NMAER) in Portales Oct. 1-2 in the Ball Room at ENMU. NMAER was founded in 1942 as a voluntary, nonprofit, nonpartisan organization dedicated to improving the […]

Employers barred from offering incentives to use TRICARE

By Tom Philpott: Military Update Civilian employers of military retirees once again can offer a TRICARE supplemental plan with their cafeteria-style health insurance options so that workers who elect to use their TRICARE Standard benefit can buy coverage conveniently and with pre-taxed dollars. The change took effect June 18 under a final rule published by […]

Home delivery of pharmacy benefits saves money

By Tom Philpott: PNT columnist Military retirees and families will save themselves some cash — and save TRICARE a whole lot of money — by using their “home delivery” pharmacy benefit instead of filling prescriptions at TRICARE retail outlets. Pharmacy officials are doing whatever they can to drive that message home to 7.5 million users […]

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, […]

Oil prices bury retiree allowance

By Tom Philpott: PNT columnist It was higher oil prices last year that led to the largest annual cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) to federal entitlements since 1982. Good thing, too. Lowered oil prices since then are almost certain to block any COLA this year for military retirees, federal civilian retirees, Social Security recipients, survivor benefit annuitants […]

Business Feature: Retirees delve into second business

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When Jo Anna Baker and her husband, Wayne, retired from farming, she didn’t know what she could do with her time. After some thought and the purchase of an embroidery machine, Baker realized there was a need in Portales for a custom embroidery shop. Baker said she slowly started to add equipment to her shop. […]

Another gaffe in retro pay project

By Tom Philpott: Syndicated columnist As many as 39,000 disabled military retirees have been left out of the VA Retro Pay program by mistake, say officials at the Defense Finance and Accounting Service (DFAS) who are calculating the amount of money owed. This latest and perhaps most serious gaffe in the problem-plagued VA Retro Pay […]

Obama plan aids disabled retirees

By Tom Philpott: Syndicated columnist As reported here last week, President Obama has asked Congress to phase in “concurrent receipt” for all Chapter 61 retirees — those who received a disability retirement from the Department of Defense. This week we explain more details of the plan which, if enacted, would boost pay for 103,000 veterans […]

Supreme Court sends suit against city of Portales to trial

By Argen Duncan: PNT senior writer The New Mexico Supreme Court has sent a breach of contract lawsuit against the city of Portales back to District Court for a jury trial. The lawsuit alleges that without approval, Portales City Manager Debi Lee canceled retiree health benefits stipulated by a personnel ordinance. City representatives said the […]

Retiree mortality rate needs study

By Tom Philpott: PNT columnist Department of Defense actuaries have discovered significantly higher mortality rates among active duty retirees compared to reserve retirees, and the disparity stretches back decades. In any given year, looking at populations of non-disabled military retirees age 60 and older, the death rate for active duty enlisted retirees is 20 to […]

TRICARE cost increases proposed

By Tom Philpott: PNT columnist A new report from the Congressional Budget Office shows why some military retirees and veterans could face higher out-of-pocket costs if the Obama administration and Congress take bold moves to reform the U.S. health system and to make federal health programs more efficient. Among 115 “options” presented, though not endorsed, […]

Oct. 22, 2008 Briefs

Education retirees to meet The Roosevelt County Association of Education Retirees will meet at 11:30 a.m. Friday in the cafeteria conference room at Roosevelt General Hospital. Several members will be reporting on the State Convention for Education Retirees. Delman Shirley will speak about legislative decisions. County to receive additional funds Roosevelt County will receive an […]

Rules relaxed for combat-related disability

By Tom New groups of disabled retirees will be able this year to draw Combat-Related Special Compensation (CRSC) or higher amounts of Concurrent Retired Disability Payments (CRDP) under legislation passed in January. Defense Finance and Accounting Service officials explained in an interview how they are implementing the changes. Again it will involve DFAS and the […]

1-15-08 Local Briefs

Ron Paul group forming A meeting for people who want to get involved in helping to elect Ron Paul for president is scheduled for 6 p.m. Friday at Eastern New Mexico University’s Golden Library, room 141. Information: Bill Moyer, 714-3177 or e-mail: swpcbee@yahoo.com No commodities to distribute The monthly commodities that were scheduled for distribution […]

Hurdles remain high for TriCare

By Tom Philpott The Defense Department’s top health official believes that “within the next year or two” TRICARE fees, co-pays and deductibles will “begin to gradually go up” for military retirees. But Dr. S. Ward Casscells, assistant secretary of defense for health affairs, also says he “has a lot of sympathy with” the argument of […]

Retro pay reaches $31,000, averages $1,500

By Tom Philpott : Military Update Two months into a year-long review of pay records and disability compensation histories for 140,000 military retirees have produced a total of $45 million in back pay to 31,000 disabled retirees, say officials in charge. The lump-sum payments average about $1,500. Ten retirees have received more than $25,000 each, […]

Distributing retroactive pay complicated matter

By Tom Philpott: Guest Columist The departments of Defense and Veterans Affairs have worked out a plan for sharing the cost and the task of delivering about $500 million in back pay to more than 100,000 military retirees with VA-rated disabilities. The retroactive payments are owed to nearly half of all recipients of Combat-Related Special […]