Final COLA Announced. We now know what cost-of-living adjustment you’ll see in your January check. But not everyone will get the same COLA. What’s yours?
TRICARE Access Survey Results. Thanks to all who participated in the TRICARE access survey featured in last week’s update. Check out the states and localities you reported as having the most difficulty finding doctors who will accept TRICARE patients.
Final COLA Announced
It’s official. The 2013 cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) for military retired pay, SBP annuities, Social Security checks, and VA disability and survivor benefits will be 1.7%, effective December 1, 2012. It will first appear in the January checks, which will be paid on December 31.
The 1.7% 2013 COLA will be the fourth-lowest COLA since the turn of the century – trailing only the zero-COLA years of 2009-10 and the 1.4% of 2002.
View the trends for yourself on MOAA’s COLA Watch webpage.
But there are two categories of military retirees who won’t receive a 1.7% COLA
2012 Retirees: Some servicemembers who retired during calendar year 2012 will receive a somewhat smaller, partial COLA for this year only, because they weren’t in retired status for the full year. Their partial COLAs generally reflect the amount of inflation experienced in the calendar quarters since they retired.
Jan.-Mar. retirees will receive 1.7%; Apr.-Jun. retirees, 1.0%; and Jul.-Sept. retirees 0.2%. Those who retire after Oct. 1, 2012, will see no COLA this year. All members who retired during 2012 will receive full-year COLAs in future years.
REDUX Retirees: Servicemembers who entered service on or after Aug. 1, 1986 and who elected to accept a $30,000 career retention bonus at the 15-years-of-service point agreed to accept reduced retired pay and COLAs as a trade-off for the bonus. REDUX retirees’ COLAs are depressed 1% below the normal COLA rate, so they’ll see a 0.7% COLA this year.
TRICARE Access Survey Results
Thanks to all who participated in the TRICARE access survey featured in last week’s update.
Overall, 44% of respondents experienced some kind of difficulty finding a doctor who accepts TRICARE patients.
General/family practice, orthopedics, and dermatology topped the list of problematic specialties.
Beneficiaries using TRICARE Standard experienced dramatically higher incidents of access problems.
We used your feedback to identify locations with potential access problems and shared those results with TRICARE officials.
Localities cited most often by survey respondents included: Colorado Springs, CO; Austin and Dallas, TX; Fairfax and Prince William Counties, VA; Montgomery County, MD; Tucson, AZ; and Oklahoma City, OK.
By law, DoD is required to survey potential problem locations every year to assess whether action is needed to improve access there, and your feedback is of great value in that process.
Your inputs help identify target locations to conduct more scientific surveys of beneficiary access to care.