Week Ending Sunday, February 11, 2018
Volume 9, Issue 06
I’d like to apologize to everyone for this weeks newsletter being put to press so late, and our slow response to all the E-Mails we have received.
I and our regular office volunteers have all contracted the flu bug, which several doctors have told us this is the worst one they’ve seen to date.
Sadly the four of us have done our best to steer clear of each other but we still managed to pass it back and forth and finally after three weeks, we’re on the mend and catching up as quickly as we can.
We’ve also seen several medical reports and in the news that so far this flu virus has taken the lives of 84 people, so if you haven’t gotten your flu shot, please do get one. I personally missed it this year and of course I got nailed and first time I’ve been sick in nearly six years.
Should you get it, the very best thing in the world you can do is first get yourself to your doctor, or the nearest urgent care. Then get home and do your level best to stay in bed, drink lots of fluids, soups, light foods and of course plenty of sleep.
Chances are you will have gotten rid of it within a week, then figure two more weeks till your 100% again!
On behalf of our Volunteers nationwide and myself, we wish you and your family good health!
Unsettling myths about the military are rising among recruit-age youth and their parents, teachers, clergy and coaches — in part because they have no personal or family ties to the armed forces, according to a key Pentagon official. The DoD points out that over 60 of those surveyed believe that it is likely that a person will leave the military unable to readjust to civilian life. Read more about the “myths” and the impact they may have on recruiting in the coming years.
Back in 2010 then-Secretary of Defense Robert Gates delcared that “Health care costs are eating the Defense Department alive.” Leon Panetta said the same thing when he was Secretary of Defense a few years later.
In 2015 Senator Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) said, “So over time, we’re going to have to ask Tricare retirees to contribute more to make Tricare more sustainable.”
Also in 2015, one publication wrote “Unsurprisingly, one of the most vocal cheerleaders of this effort to reduce benefits for American soldiers is Senator John McCain (R-Ariz.) who stated that military personnel costs are ‘one of our greatest challenges’ and that ‘we’re going to have to make some tough decisions’ soon.
Last year, Congress passed legislation that increased phamacy co-pays for all military retirees. It also restructured the Tricare health program and added new fees, as well as increased fees for those who use Tricare Prime.
Now, a new report by Politico, a Washington, D.C., newspaper and website, says that an audit has found more waste in the Defense Department. According to the article, “the Defense Logistics Agency failed to properly document more than $800 million in construction projects, just one of a series of examples where it lacks a paper trail for millions of dollars in property and equipment. Across the board, its financial management is so weak that its leaders and oversight bodies have no reliable way to track the huge sums it’s responsible for, the firm warned in its initial audit of the massive Pentagon purchasing agent.”
TREA has argued for years that DoD needs to be audited because it wastes mountains of money. Every year some new report comes out about wasteful Pentagon spending, this being only the most recent.
Yet many politicians, as well as Pentagon bean-counters, continue to insist that it’s those of us who are military retirees who are the cause of unsustainable Pentagon spending. This is outrageous and TREA will continue to fight to protect your military health care and fight to stop you from having to pay even more for your promised and earned military health care.
A new study from the Department of Veterans Affairs and the University of Connecticut found that veterans who are married or are in a live-in relationship have a higher risk of suicide than their single counterparts. Researchers reviewed survey responses from 772 Iraq and Afghanistan veterans and found variations in suicide risk based on age, income, marital status and religious beliefs. Being married significantly increased the risk, researchers concluded. For more information, see this article, visit the University of Connecticut website and read an abstract of the study on the Archives of Suicide Research website.
The Veterans-For-Change website has been under construction since day one back in 2009 and every day since then. The looks pretty much stay the same, but in the background constant improvement and change is being done to make our website the most user friendly “One-Stop-Shop” website to find almost everything you might have tried to find searching the internet.
Almost a hundred people have been involved; collecting web links to documents now houses on the VFC website, collecting thousands of web links for various issues, illnesses and benefits. Creating forums for all eras of service and two forums one just for men and one just for woman where you can go question, comment, share medical and personal concerns, what ever you’d like it to be.
We also have a forum with a licensed Mental Health Worker, again where you can seek help or just ask questions.
We average 2,100 hits per day, and downloads average 1,200 per day with a total 3,877,747visitors as of Friday.
If you subscribe you will have full access to the entire website and best of all it’s FREE of charge! You just need a valid E-mail address so the system can send you a confirmation E-Mail. Once received, click on the link to be authorized automatically.
• Documents Library with over 16,163documents on-line (Updated: 12/30/17)
• FAQ’s with more than 1,600 FAQ’s and answers
• Multiple Forums
o Afghanistan Veterans
o FMP – Foreign Medial Program
o Gulf War & Desert Storm Veterans
o Iraq Veterans
o Korean Veterans
o Men Veterans Forum
o Mental Health for Veterans
o Political Issues
o Suggestion Box
o The Mess Hall
o VA Hospitals and Medical Centers
o Veteran Affairs
o Vietnam Veterans
o Welcome Mat
o Women Veterans Forum
o WW II Veterans
• Job Postings
• Memorial Pages (Updated: 11/02/17)
• News (Articles On-Line: 7,113)
• Web Links, more than 3,618, Added 1 New Links (Updated: 01/03/18)
If you have a submission for the memorial pages, E-Mail: Jim.Davis@veterans-for-change.org
Last week, state lawmakers in South Dakota’s House State Affairs Committee considered a bill that would lower the drinking age to 18 for active duty military, including the National Guard. Representative Tim Goodwin, a military veteran and the bill’s sponsor, stated, “If somebody is going to join the military and fight for his country and possibly give up his life for his country, he should be considered an adult and should be able to have an adult beverage. It’s an insult that they have to wait until they’re 21.” The bill was ultimately not passed, but do you agree with this viewpoint? Make your opinion heard in this Under the Radar post.
Do you have a new TRICARE plan? Not sure how your new TRICARE coverage works? Do you have the same TRICARE plan, but not sure if anything changed? Join us on Monday, Feb. 12, from 1 to 2 p.m. (ET) for the “Take Command of Your Health: New Year, New TRICARE” webinar.
Read the full article here.
2018 is a year of big changes in TRICARE. Next year, 2019, will also present a large change. On January 1st 2019 (please note this is next year) the Federal Employees Dental and Vision Insurance Program (henceforth referred to as FEDVIP) will be available to some TRICARE beneficiaries.
This program, like the present TRICARE Retiree Dental Program is not funded by the federal government. The beneficiaries’ premiums cover the full cost of the insurance. (This is also true for all civilian federal employees.) Presently 71% (1.5 million beneficiaries) of military retirees and family members eligible for the TRICARE Retiree Dental Plan (TRDP) while 600,000 (29%) of eligible beneficiaries are not enrolled.
The present FEDVIP program has 10 different dental carriers and 4 vision carriers:
1. Aetna Dental
2. Delta Dental
3. Dominion Dental
4. Emblem Health
5. FEP BlueDental
9. Triple-S Salud
10. United Concordia
1. Aetna Vision
2. FEP BlueVision
3. UnitedHealthcare Vision
The plans vary. Some have national and some have regional networks. Some have no maximum benefit for some dental plans – others do. Most do not have a waiting period for most dental services. The thing is they are different and you have the choice.
When you have a chance you should speak to your dentist (if you want to continue with him or her) and ask which plans they take, which they prefer and which is the best value.
Looking at the Vision plans they also vary. Some have no deductibles; some do; some have no limit on glass frames and/or contact lenses; others do. And some plans provide discounts for LASIK surgery. Again during 2018 you should study the various plans and see if you are interested and if you are which plan is best for you.
You can enroll in one or both plans. And Active Duty family members can enroll in the Vision plan. (Active Duty family members have a dental plan that the federal government pays for 40% of the premiums.)
The most important thing for you to know is that if you wish to be covered in either plan you must affirmatively enroll in your selected plan during the FEDVIP’s Open Season which will be November 12th to December 10th 2018.
There will be NO automatic transition for current TRDP enrollees to the new program.
After enrollment beneficiaries will only be able to enroll or change plans during the yearly Open Season unless you experience what is called “a Qualifying Life Event.” Those include marriage, divorce, birth of a child etc.
This will seem strange to many of you but you have a year to get used to it. And FEDVIP provides more benefits than you currently have so it is definitely worth the trouble. As the program is rolled out we will write more about it- but in the meantime if you already have questions please call or email the Washington Office and ask for Deirdre Parke Holleman or write me at email@example.com
The U.S. Navy has made some significant changes pertaining to the retention of Sailors. In the past, Sailors with projected rotation dates (PRD) after their end of active obligated service (EAOS) were able to push their EAOS to match their PRD only if they were a first term Sailor on sea duty. Now the U.S. Navy has mandated that all Sailors’ EAOS and PRD match. This does not affect those Sailors who have already been given their orders to their next command. Sailors should make their intentions known on whether they plan on staying in the Navy or getting out to their chain of command. Their chain of command should then be able to provide them with the information they need to help determine what is best for their specific circumstance.
A new proposal would order the Pentagon to take a hard look at a series of military spouseemployment issues and come up with action plans to address them. The legislation, which Sen. Tim Kaine, a Virginia Democrat, plans to introduce Tuesday, would also expand a federal military spouse hiring authority and broaden the Pentagon’s transition program to include spouses, he announced last week. For more details, see this article.