(UPDATED 051811 – 102111 WITH REPLIES) MY LETTER TO CONGRESSWOMAN JAIME HERERRA BEUTLER (WA-7TH GOP) ON THE PROPOSED INCREASE TO TRI-CARE RATES WITH RESPONSE FROM SENATOR MARIA CANTWELL INCLUDED

Click the pic to go to her web site contact page

It is being reported that the House Committee ok’s a rate hike for us Tri-Care working retirees.

House Committee Okay’s TRICARE Increase

Week of May 16, 2011
Last week the House Armed Services Committee gave the go ahead for the Obama administration’s plan to begin to raise out-of-pocket costs modestly for working-age retirees TRICARE beneficiaries. This would be the first increase in TRICARE Prime enrollment fees in more than 15 years. If approved the committee’s budget bill would allow DoD to increase premiums by $30 a year for individual coverage and $60 a year for family coverage. The HAS defense budget would also allow DoD to raise the TRICARE Prime premium on an annual basis, but not at the rate they requested.

I have written you on this subject in the past and you have stated that you will not support any increase in these rates that us Vets would have to absorb.  This is just another nail in the coffin for us, especially with the economy being in a shambles, and the price of gas being through the roof. I find this situation to be unacceptable and I hope you do not support this increase, even as “modest” as it may seem.  It is not appropriate and if it comes to fruition, it is not going to go unnoticed by us military retirees.

051811: HER REPLY

May 18, 2011

Thank you for contacting me regarding proposed increases in health insurance fees paid by retired veterans under 65. I sincerely appreciate the dedication and sacrifice made by our service members and their families.  It is an honor to represent the people of Southwest Washington and I appreciate you taking the time to share your thoughts with me.

The White House has ordered the Pentagon to decrease spending, not counting the costs of its combat operations, by $78 billion over the next five years.  Amongst an array of cost cutting measures, Defense Secretary Robert Gates announced he will seek to offset billions of dollars by increasing fees paid by retired veterans under 65 for Defense Department health insurance.  Increases in fees for Tricare require Congressional approval, and similar proposals have been rejected in the past.

U.S. debt is becoming a long-term national security threat.  I support strong spending reforms, but increasing fees for retired veterans is not the first place we should look for quick reductions in federal spending. Please know I will keep your concerns in mind should further action be taken on this issue.

Thank you again for contacting me on this important issue. I invite you to visit my website at www.herrerabeutler.house.gov

For additional information or to sign up to be kept up to date on these issues. Please do not hesitate to contact me if I can be of further assistance.
Sincerely,
Jaime Herrera Beutler
Member of Congress

SENATOR MARIA CANTWELL

SENATOR MARIA CANTWELL’S RESPONSE 102111:

Thank you for contacting me with your concerns regarding TRICARE.  I appreciate hearing from you on this important matter.

I share your concerns about keeping TRICARE affordable.  The health and welfare of those men and women who have bravely served our country both in times of peace and war deserve our full support.  To that end, I have consistently worked to ensure that any TRICARE fee increases proposed by the Department of Defense do not put an undue burden on our soldiers, military families, and veterans. The Department of Defense (DOD) has requested authority to tie TRICARE enrollment fee increases to the National Healthcare Expenditure Index, which has an average annual increase of 6.4 percent.  DOD has said that this change is necessary in order to reduce the rapidly increasing costs of military healthcare.  The Senate Armed Services Committee reported its version of the fiscal year 2012 National Defense Authorization Act on June 16, 2011; this proposed legislation would require the Department of Defense to tie annual TRICARE fee increases to the annual cost-of-living increase provided for military retirees that averages around 3.1 percent. I am profoundly grateful for the service of America’s veterans and for the sacrifices they have made to defend and preserve our great nation.  As such, I believe we have an important responsibility to ensure that our veterans are provided the benefits and assistance that they so greatly deserve.  Please be assured that I will continue to work with my colleagues on behalf of the many veterans in the state of Washington.

Thank you again for contacting me to share your thoughts on this matter.  You may also be interested in signing up for periodic updates for Washington State residents.  If you are interested in subscribing to this update, please visit my website at http://cantwell.senate.gov.  Please do not hesitate to contact me in the future if I can be of further assistance.
Sincerely,
Maria Cantwell
United States Senator

For future correspondence with my office, please visit my website at

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