What TRICARE Beneficiaries Need to Know About DoD’s Budget Plans

What TRICARE Beneficiaries Need to Know About DoD’s Budget Plans
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MOAA’s advocacy efforts have paid off with good news in the recently released Defense Budget Overview for FY 2023 for military families, retirees and their families, and survivors who rely on the military health system for medical care.


The budget narrative announces a one-year strategic pause to all planned medical end strength divestitures to ensure “beneficiaries continue to have uninterrupted access to high-quality care” and “the Department’s military force structure, including military medical end strength, remains optimized to meet the operational requirements of the department.”


Defense Health Program budget details also confirm DoD has requested no new TRICARE fee increases, a relief for military families and retirees who experienced sticker shock after military health system (MHS) reforms resulted in multiple out-of-pocket cost hikes starting in 2018.


[RELATED: Is Your Medical Facility Closing? DoD Restarts ‘Modified’ Realignment Plans]


Continued Vigilance

Since 2019, MOAA has been working to ensure medical billet cuts do not interfere with operational requirements or beneficiary access to care, so we appreciate DoD’s commitment to ensuring all MHS changes are conditions-based.


The civilian health care system has changed significantly since MHS reforms were passed into law with the FY 2017 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). MOAA continues to raise awareness on Capitol Hill regarding instability in the civilian health care workforce and the potential impacts on the MHS.


Most recently, we joined our partners in the TRICARE for Kids Coalition for a series of meetings with member offices to highlight our concerns, including recent research findings from the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) indicating 1 in 5 physicians intend to leave their clinical practice within the next year.


MOAA has also been at the forefront of protecting military families and retirees from TRICARE fee increases and, during MHS reforms, was successful in grandfathering servicemembers and working-age retirees who entered service before Jan. 1, 2018, from the bulk of TRICARE fee hikes. MOAA also successfully blocked five consecutive proposals for a TRICARE For Life enrollment fee.


Addressing and preventing further disproportionate TRICARE fee increases remains a top advocacy priority for MOAA. Reducing mental health copays, which more than doubled as a result of MHS reforms, was one of the key issues of our spring advocacy campaign. Please join our efforts by contacting your lawmakers and urging them to co-sponsor the Stop Copay Overpay Act.


[TAKE ACTION: Help Reduce TRICARE Mental Health Copays]


While MOAA is grateful for good news in the FY 2023 DoD budget proposal, we understand the military health care benefit remains a prime target for those seeking funding for other priorities and will continue to monitor potential threats to TRICARE and the MHS.


Have More Questions About Your Health Care Benefit?

MOAA's 2021-2022 TRICARE Guide answers some commonly asked questions.


About the Author

Karen Ruedisueli
Karen Ruedisueli

Ruedisueli is MOAA’s Director of Government Relations for Health Affairs and also serves as co-chair of The Military Coalition’s (TMC) Health Care Committee. She spent six years with the National Military Family Association, advocating for families of the uniformed services with a focus on health care and military caregivers.