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Hartselle Enquirer

Your Opinions

By Staff
Government wants to limit TriCare
Buried deep within the Senate and House versions of the National Defense Authorization Act 2007 (HR5122, Sec.710 and S2766, Sec 722) is a provision which would restrict the use of TriCare for retirees who are employed.
When a military retiree begins a second career, he is 25 to 30 years older than those they often compete against. TriCare, just like a security clearance or military training, may be the added enhancement that helps secure the job.
This proposed legislation would prohibit employers from making optional and heretofore legal contributions to a TriCare supplement for TriCare eligible employees as an alternative to a civilian employer health plan which might be of lesser coverage than TriCare.
Retirees should not be penalized from choosing the health care option that works best for them.
Senator Graham calls it "dishonest" for employers to expect the military retiree to provide health benefits. It is "dishonest" for the DoD to promise a TriCare health benefit, and then not fix the parts that are broken, i.e., TriCare Standard.
TriCare is an earned entitlement paid for by years of service and sacrifice.
The retiree earned the right to use TriCare in a manner that works best for the retiree, even if that includes using a supplement.
What is the difference between the retiree purchasing the often-required supplement on his own as opposed to the employer purchasing that supplement?
It is clear the intent of the legislation is to make TriCare a "secondary payer." Our service to our country was not secondary, and our earned health care is not secondary. I have heard the term "TriCare dumping," used by some Congress members, because some employers offer TriCare beneficiaries a choice to use their TriCare rather than the employer health plan. The way I see it, Congress and the DoD are "TriCare dumping" on the TriCare beneficiaries and the employers.
TriCare beneficiaries deserve the entitlements they earned. We volunteered to make the personal sacrifices defending the nation. Our country should honor its promises. Congress must delete this language from HB5122, Sec.710 and S2766, Sec. 722.
Gene Aittala
Hartselle

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