First, let me say that I am grateful for the sacrifices made by our men and women in uniform. Their sacrifices allow me the freedom to write this letter.
The Tricare health benefit extended to our active duty personnel, retired service members and their eligible beneficiaries is excellent: Free for active duty service members and their beneficiaries under the Prime benefit — managed care — and very affordable for retirees and their family members at $45.64 a month.
The Standard benefit is also an excellent and affordable benefit with a $150 annual deductible and nominal cost shares.
There has been some angst in the community lately because the Managed Care beneficiaries that live 30 minutes or less from the Naval hospital who have been receiving their care off base have been asked to return to the Naval Hospital for their care if they wish to enjoy the Prime benefit.
Bottom line for this decision is money.
During a time when affordable health care continues to elude us, we as a nation must continue to offer free or very affordable health care to our military.
Let me share with you this: 189 Tricare Service Centers will close their doors March 31 at a cost of nearly 1,000 jobs. The military treatment facilities across the nation are downsizing their staff. I am one of those Tricare Service Center employees who will lose my job.
My contribution to affordable health care is the loss of that job.
While employed for Tricare during the past six years, my medical premiums rose to such a level that I have not sought care when I was sick.
So, I would like to remind those of you that are unwilling to return to the hospital for your care and complain about using the Standard Benefit, that there are many people who will suffer great economic difficulty and stress to help keep your healthcare affordable.
As a proud American, I am grateful for the sacrifices you all have made. I simply ask that you consider being a part of the solution to keeping your benefits affordable.