Bernard Curtis Brown II Memorial Space Camp Scholarship
NASA Space Camp (www.spacecamp.com) is a place of learning where kids come together for a journey they will never forget. For many, it is a life-changing event helping them make decisions about their educational and vocational careers. This extraordinary adventure teaches youth about astronauts and space travel…and so much more. They learn leadership, and they develop bonds of friendship that can last a lifetime.
The Military Child Education Coalition (MCEC) created a Space Camp scholarship program in memory of one of America’s bright young Military Children, Bernard Curtis Brown II. Bernard, the 11-year old son of Chief Petty Officer and Mrs. Bernard Curtis Brown, died tragically on September 11, 2001, when the hijacked airliner on which he was a passenger crashed into the Pentagon in Washington, D.C. At the time, Bernard was on his way to California to represent his school at a National Geographic event.
Bernard’s parents agreed to allow the MCEC to honor Bernard’s memory with this scholarship to provide other military-connected children with the opportunity to experience the worlds of science and learning, and share their experiences of service to the nation, as proud members of Military Families.
For more information and to apply for this scholarship: Military Child Education Coalition Attn: Space Camp, 909 Mountain Lion Circle, Harker Heights,
Feds Hire Vets Initiative
The federal government recognizes the vast contributions of men and women who have served their country in uniform. As a veteran of the armed services, you may have an advantage when seeking employment with the Federal Government. By law, (Executive Order 13518) states that disabled veterans or veterans who served on active duty during specified time periods or in military campaigns are entitled to preference over non-veterans both in hiring and retention during reductions in the workforce.
FEDS HIRE VETS is a strategic program that helps men and women who have served our country in the military seek employment in the Federal Government. The program lines up the talents of these Service Members, with key Federal positions so that the Government is better positioned to meet mission objectives and citizens are better served.
The Feds Hire Vets website provides information for Veterans, transitioning Service Members, their Families and Federal hiring officials. Its sole purpose is to offer accurate and consistent information and useful training tools and resources that will inform both applicants and hiring agencies. Some of the events the FEDS HIRE VETS offer include: Writing an Effective Resume, Federal Veterans Employment Information Symposium and How to search and learn about different Federal positions.
America’s Veteran - Valued Experienced Trained
Feds Hire Vets Initiative
For more information and to learn more about FEDS HIRE VETS in your area, visit http://www.fedshirevets.gov/
Month of the Military Child
The month of April is designated as the “Month of the Military Child” across the Department of Defense, recognizing the important role military children play in the armed forces community. It is an opportunity to recognize the sacrifices military children and youth have made, and to acknowledge their character, courage and resilience.
The “Month of the Military Child” is a great opportunity to find new ways to communicate and bond with your children. Visit the following links for ideas for creative activities.
Purple Up! for Military Kids
MONDAY, APRIL 15TH
Everyone is encouraged to wear purple on Monday, April 15th, as a visible way to show support and thank military children for their strength and sacrifices. Purple is the color that symbolizes all branches of the military, as it is the combi-nation of Army green, Coast Guard blue, Air Force blue, Marine red and Navy blue. Take this opportunity to appreciate and celebrate these young heroes.
Tax Assistance Services
The United Way of West Central Connecticut announced its upcoming tax assistance program. The Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program will begin on January 29 and run through April 13. The program is available for residents of Bristol, Plainville, Burlington, and Plymouth/Terryville with an annual household income less than $50,000. Appointments must be made in advance and are available for Tuesdays and Saturdays. Please call 211 to schedule your appointment. Other locations and tax assistance services can be found through www.infoline.org search for “tax preparation”. Volunteers will be able to assist Military Members with Tuesday appointments only, as the Tuesday volunteers have received training with the unique features of doing military tax returns.
In addition, Military OneSource and H & R Block have announced their partnership to provide free on-line tax preparation services for Military Members, regardless of branch or component, and activation status. Coast Guard Reservists activated under Title 10, as well as spouses/Family Members enrolled in DEERS are also eligible for this free service. If you are eligible under the Military OneSource program, you can complete, save and file your 2012 Federal and up to three State returns online for free with the H&R Block At Home® Basic tool.
Heroes 4 Hire Job Fair
APRIL 16, 2013
EAST HARTFORD, CT
Last year this event involved 93 employers, 20 service
agencies and educational/training providers, and 2,300
Veterans. We are looking forward to an even more successful
event this year.
For more information visit http://www.ctjobfairs.com/
Welcome Home Vietnam Veterans Day 2013
A Celebration for All Who Served
SUNDAY, APRIL 21, 2013 | 10 AM – 3 PM
THE GUILFORD FAIRGROUNDS
111 LOVERS LANE, GUILFORD, CT
Community Event Honoring Vietnam Veterans
Car Show: 10 am – 3 pm
Welcome Home Ceremonies: Noon – 2 pm
This event is free of charge for the entire community
(Show Cars do have a $10 entry fee)
This event will host live music (bring a lawnchair), retail
and food vendors, as well as Veterans service providers.
For more information you may contact email@example.com; or find more
information on the website at www.ctwhvvd.com, and on Facebook:
Connecticut Welcome Home Vietnam Veterans Day Celebration.
Disabled American Veterans (DAV)
MONDAY, APRIL 15 – TUESDAY, APRIL 30, 2013
The DAV Mobile Services will be visiting the following
cities and towns over the course of 10 days: Enfield,
Windsor Locks, Rocky Hill, Torrington, Danbury, Milford,
West Haven, Norwich, Manchester and Bristol.
Please contact the Bristol ASCC for specific locations and times.
The DAV Mobile Veteran Services program is an outreach
program designed to educate disabled Veterans and their
Families on specific Veterans’ benefits and services. This
program allows Service Officers to travel to communities
across the country to counsel and assist Veterans with their
VA disability applications. The Mobile Services Program is
an “office on wheels” that helps eliminate the sometimes
long trips Veterans must take to visit the brick and mortar
For more information please go to http://www.dav.org/veterans/
CT Operation: Military Kids
Health & Wellness Fair
SUNDAY, APRIL 21, 2013 | 1 – 4 PM
ARMED FORCES RESERVE CENTER
375 SMITH STREET, MIDDLETOWN, CT
CT OMK and its partner organizations are pleased to host
their first ever Health & Wellness Fair for Military Families
during April the Month of the Military Child. Learn how to
make healthy, fast, and inexpensive meals; try new fitness
activities; and meet various organizations that can help you
For more information, contact Lisa Marcinkowski at 860-885-6106 or
A Surviving Spouse Becomes a Leader in Army Resilience
By Brian Feeney
We recognize the service and sacrifice of not only our Soldiers, but their Family members, and how they demon-strate their resilience every day. The subject of this is both a spouse and a Soldier.
“I knew something was very wrong when my Commander had someone come find me as I was leaving work at our base in northern Afghanistan,” said Master Sgt. Jennifer Loredo. “I had been in-country for only six weeks, my husband was nearing the end of his tour in southern Afghanistan,” she added, “In his office, the Colonel said, ‘please sit down, your husband…’ “I was on my feet and crying before he finished his sentence,” she said as tears started to well in her eyes upon retelling the story almost three years later.
Her husband, who everyone called Sergeant Eddie, sort of a joke since he was two ranks below his wife, was on patrol and had dismounted when a roadside IED detonated right next to him. He was evacuated to the nearest Army hospital having lost his left leg. 1st Sgt. Loredo, was immediately flown there to be with him. When she entered his hospital room he lay there peacefully. She immediately kissed him and realized that he didn’t make it.
After the funeral, she took three months of leave to get her affairs in order and figure out what to do next. She had a 12-year-old daughter and a 2-year-old son to help adjust to life without their father. She also spent time with a lot of other surviving spouses listening to their stories. “I thought this has to be happening to me for a reason, I just have to figure out what it is,” she said looking back on that time.
Back at work, she helped out at the installation Casualty Assistance Center and was then reassigned to the 18th Airborne Corps where she was given wide latitude to improve their Casualty Assistance Program. It was then that the installation Commander asked her to meet with him and offered her the job of standing up Fort Bragg’s then-Comprehensive Soldier Fitness program. Thinking that this might be just the reason behind all she had gone through, she leapt at the chance.
It began with an intensive 10-day Master Resilience Trainer (MRT) course at the University of Pennsylvania given by psychologists who are experts in positive thinking and facilitated by MRT-trained NCOs. While most people going through this training have an ‘aha!’ moment and find it inspiring, as a new widow, Master Sgt. Loredo found that the training kept reminding her of the shock and anguish of losing her husband. She returned to Fort Bragg confused, but willing to give it a try.
Back at Fort Bragg, she started applying MRT skills to her own life. She found that practices such as Hunt the Good Stuff, identifying three things that day that were positive and explaining why, pulled her away from grief and toward optimism. Assertive Communication, a technique for actively listening to other people and participating in their positive emotions, was helping her build better rela-tionships with her family and her colleagues. And, Real-Time Resilience, a technique for self-coaching on the fly while coping with a stressful situation, gave her the confi-dence to take on what was turning into a big job at Fort Bragg – standing up the program, providing MRT training to Soldiers, Family members and installation senior leadership.
Asked if she felt something click at that point, she answered, “It’s not a click; it’s more like a nudge. As I teach the skills to others, I draw on my life for examples, and I feel myself become stronger. Through teaching and living resilience, I also feel myself providing a good example to my children,” she continued.
Another area of her life that she developed as part of her per-sonal resilience strategy was CrossFit, a fitness system that uses constantly varied, high-intensity movements to build strength and improve conditioning. Participating in sports and fitness together was a big part of her marriage, and she knew Eddie would be proud of her for taking on such a chal-lenging sport. It helped her not only become physically stronger, but also emotionally and socially. CrossFit has been a positive outlet for her to release stress and improve her strength. She also assisted in creating a Hero workout for Eddie in honor of his sacrifice. CrossFit honors fallen Soldiers by naming grueling exercise sequences after them, so she partnered with the owner of her gym and contacted CrossFit national headquarters. Together they created the “Loredo”. He died on June 24, 2010, so the Loredo consists of six rounds of 24 squats, 24 pushups, 24 walking lunges plus six 400 meter runs.
Last August she was reassigned to now-Comprehensive Soldier and Family Fitness (CSF2) headquarters in Arlington, Va. where she provides high-level MRT training to Soldiers, spouses and Department of the Army Civilians. She is also one of only two Soldiers on the Chief of Staff of the Army’s Survivor Advisory Board where she has the ear of Chief of Staff of the Army Gen. Odierno and the Sgt. Major of the Army at quarterly meetings.
At these meetings she has been able to affect real change. She has been instrumental in getting the Army to stabilize active duty surviving spouses for 24 months after their loss to enable them to get their affairs in order. She has also taken an active role in speaking at and participating in Casualty Assistance Training and assisting Survivor Outreach Services staff in getting trained as Master Resilience Trainers.
However, now Master Sgt. Loredo regards the true measure of her work to be how she can help others. Before her hus-band died, he was close friends with another sergeant and through them Master Sgt. Loredo came to know the other sergeant’s wife, Lara Smith. The two women were casual friends, but when Lara’s husband died in combat two years after Eddie, Master Sgt. Loredo knew she would need her help and reached out immediately. Smith valued her help so much that she asked her to be present while she broke the news to her 5-year-old son.
Smith recalled, “Jennifer had already been there, she knew exactly what to say to help me pull myself together, how strong she was!” She added, “She was a pillar in my life when I needed it most, I am very lucky to have her as a friend.” The director of CSF2, Col. Kenneth Riddle, hit many of the same notes in describing Master Sgt. Loredo’s contribution to the program. “Master Sgt. Loredo is not only the most resilient person that I know, but also the most professional, dedicated and passionate leader that I know; CSF2 is very fortunate to have Jennifer on the team and I feel privileged to know her and call her a friend,” he said.
Summing it up she said, “Looking back on my journey since Eddie’s death, my purpose has become very clear. I am here to serve my country, help others and remind them of the sacrifices made by our service members. This isn’t about me or my family. It’s about something so much bigger. Training resilience and sharing my personal stories and experiences is changing Army culture. To play a small part in something so big is an honor. Helping others see that they can grow and become better, stronger people in the face of adversity is what this is all about. I believe in people and am determined to help them believe in themselves!”
33 States Waive Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) Test
Maryland has joined 33 other states in agreeing to waive the skills test for Veterans and Servicemembers who have mili-tary training that would entitle them to a commercial driver's license. A provision of the commercial learner's per-mit rule gives state driver licensing agencies the authority to substitute two years of commercial motor vehicle safe-driving experience in the military equivalents of commercial motor vehicles for the skills-test portion of the commercial driver license. The rule applies to active duty, Reserve, Guard and Coast Guard members, and Veterans within 90 days of separation. More states are considering such a waiver.
For more information, contact your state’s
New Overseas Mail Requirements
The United States Postal Service (USPS) recently sent out a mandate that all letter mail being shipped to overseas military installations be addressed with a nine-digit zip code, starting January 2013. The policy change came with an upgrade to USPS’s mail sorting system and the opening of an additional centralized gateway for receiving and ship-ping all government mail. The new mail sorting system will enable mail to be delivered and sorted quicker by giving the sorting machines another way to divide up the mail. The new address format will include the box number as a four digit number at the end of the zip code.
For more information, visit the USPS website, https://www.usps.com/ship/apo-fpo-guidelines.htm
DoD Safe Helpline
DoD Safe Helpline, operated by the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network (RAINN) on behalf of the Department of Defense, is a secure, anonymous and confidential crisis support service that connects members of the military community to sexual assault professionals for one-on-one support. RAINN will not share your name or any other personally identifying information with the Department of Defense (DoD) or your chain of command.
Access the DoD Safe Helpline 24/7 from anywhere in the world by calling 877-995-5247 or visiting the Safe Helpline website at www.safehelpline.org.
To find help near you, text your zip code, installation or base name to: 55-247 (in the U.S.) or 202-470-5546 (outside the U.S.)
Emma Baird Award Nominations
Does your Command have an OUTSTANDING Volunteer that goes ABOVE & BEYOND the call of SERVICE? Is this VOLUNTEER the EPITOME of the word SELFLESS? Do you have VOLUNTEERS that deserve to be recognized for their HARD WORK and DEDICATION?
The Emma Marie Baird Award for Outstanding Volunteer Service was established 29 August 1988 to memorialize the late Lieutenant Colonel Emma Marie Baird (USA Retired), who is considered the founder of Army Community Service.
This award consists of a lapel pin having the image of LTC Emma Marie Baird and citation signed by the Chief of Staff, Army. It is intended to represent DA recognition of volun-teers who have contributed outstanding service to ACS.
Deadline Submission for nominations is 1 September 2013.
For more information about The Emma Marie Baird Award for Outstanding Volunteer Service please visit http://www.myarmyonesource.com/FamilyProgramsandServices/Volunteering/Awards/EmmaMarieBairdAward/Background.aspx
Renew ID Cards for Incapacitated Children Every Four Years
When the child of a military sponsor is incapacitated, he or she may retain certain entitlements and benefits indefinitely, but only if the sponsor renews the child’s ID card every four years.
To qualify as incapacitated, the child must be unmarried and incapable of self-support due to mental or physical incapacity that existed prior to age 21 (or age 23 if enrolled as a full time student). The sponsor must also directly provide more than 50% of the child’s support, which is verified through a dependency determination application submitted to DFAS.
If these conditions continue to be met, the child may qualify for the reissuance of an ID card every four years. Initial application procedures are addressed in Army Regulation 600-8-14, Identification Cards, or sponsors can contact the closest ID Card facility.
Incapacitated children who marry and subsequently become unmarried through divorce, annulment, or the death of a spouse may apply for reinstatement as long as they meet all other requirements.
Sponsors should initiate dependency determination and ID card renewal at least 90 days prior to the expiration of the current ID card.
The sponsor’s parent service must process both the initial and renewal applications for incapacitated children; cross-servicing is not authorized.
For more information call the Defense Enrollment Eligibility Reporting System (DEERS) at (800)538-9552, or visit http://www.dmdc.osd.mil/rsl
New Online Deployment Planning Resource
The Defense Department launched a new resource to help troops and their Families plan for the “before, during and after” deploying.
“Plan My Deployment” (PMD) is a new, interactive online tool that supports Servicemembers and their Families as they prepare for the different stages of deployment.
The new resource guides users through the “ins and outs” of deployment, from power of attorney and legal assistance considerations to financial and emo-tional issues. Other tips and tools address education and training benefits.
Plan My Deployment is available at DOD's Military OneSource website, www.militaryonesource.mil and is in the public domain, so it is available to extended Family Members who do not have access to military facilities.
PMD breaks the deployment process down into clear manageable steps, and helps Service Members and Family Members organize the phases of deployment by providing access to planning tools and helpful tips.
The application provides information, customized to Service components, on a wide-range of topics including preparing legal documents prior to deploy-ing, operations security (OPSEC) during deployment, and returning to the workplace after deployment for National Guard and Reserve Members.
PMD provides the option of a log-in so users can come back to their information and always find what they need.
Contact information for resources and programs is included throughout the application to make it easier for Service Members and Families to complete their deployment-related tasks and address any deployment- related issues.
The PMD application launched on January 10, 2013.
For more information visit http://apps.militaryonesource.mil/pmd
National Military Family Association is Offering Two New Military Kids Kits
Military Family.org has two new kits “Military Kids” toolkit and “Military Teens” toolkit which can be ordered at no cost. These two kits are geared toward elementary school-age military children 6 to 11 years old. This is the second in a series from the National Military Family Association to give people in military kids’ lives - teachers, school counselors, coaches, community leaders, religious leaders, neighbors, Family friends, or relatives - a way to help them manage stress and affirm the positive aspects of military life.
DeCa Scholarships for Military Children
Applications for the 2013 Scholarships for Military Children Program are now available at commissaries worldwide, and also online at www.commissaries.com and www.militaryscholar.org.
The scholarship program awards at least $1,500 at each commissary. To be eligible to apply for a schol-arship, the student must be a dependent, unmarried child, younger than 21 (or 23, if enrolled as a full-time student at a college or university) of a Service Mem-ber on active duty, reservist, guardsman, retiree or survivor of a Military Member who died while on active duty, or survivor of a retiree.
Students with questions about the scholarship program application can call Scholarship Managers at 856-616-9311.
THE CSF2 PROGRAM CONSISTS OF FIVE PILLARS:
The Global Assessment Tool (GAT) - A confidential, 125 item questionnaire that measures an individual’s psychological health and resilience using the five dimensions of strength. Users receive confidential feedback.
COMPREHENSIVE RESILIENCE MODULES (CRM) A series of web-based training modules intended to build resilience across the Army community and teach skills that support physical, social, emotional, spiritual, and Family fitness.
MASTER RESILIENCE TRAINERS (MRT) Soldiers and Department of the Army Civilians who are graduates of the 10 day MRT course. They oversee resilience training programs, and instill these skills in every Soldier at every unit level.
INSTITUTIONAL RESILIENCE TRAINING (IRT) Resilience training provided at every major level of the Army education system, from basic training to the war college.
PERFORMANCE AND RESILIENCE ENHANCEMENT (PREP) Performance Enhancement training provides Soldiers with the specific mental and emotional skills that underlie optimal human performance when it matters most: in combat, healing after an injury, or managing work and home life.
COMPREHENSIVE SOLDIER AND FAMILY FITNESS IS EFFECTIVE:
An evaluation completed by Army and Civilian scientists showed that Soldiers who received MRT-led resilience training reported higher levels of resilience and psychological health over time than Soldiers who did not receive the training. Most importantly, good leadership matters- Soldiers improved more when their commanders endorsed the program, scheduled training, and selected confident NCOs to serve as CSF2 trainers.
Research completed by Army and civilian scientists showed that Soldiers who received MRT-led resilience training reported higher levels of resilience and psychological health over time than Soldiers who did not receive the training.
For more information visit http://csf2.army.mil
What is Space-A?
Space-A is short for “space available” travel on government owned or contracted aircraft. Under the Space-A program, eligible passengers can fill unused seats on DoD owned or contracted aircraft once all of the duty passengers have been accommodated. With patience and flexibility, you can travel the world very inexpensively.
Success with Space-A travel depends on flexibility and good timing. Since Space-A passengers travel only after all duty passengers and air cargo have been accommodated, there is no guarantee that a flight will have enough seats for every potential cus-tomer. Space-A passengers should be prepared with sufficient financial resources to cover the costs of lodging and alternative transportation should seats not be available.
Remember; “space available” travel is just that space that is available only after all mission require-ments are fulfilled. * ** * There is no guarantee ** * *
The following are eligible for Space A travel:
Members of the Uniformed Services and their Family Members
Foreign exchange Service Members on permanent duty with the DoD
Retired members of the Uniformed Services and their Family Members
Members of the Reserve Components
Civilian employees of the DoD stationed overseas and their Families
American Red Cross personnel serving overseas with the U.S. Military
DoD Dependent School (DoDDS) teachers and their Family Members
For more information please visit www.takeahop.com
VA Gives Veterans Money to Pay for Elder Care Services at Home
Under certain conditions, about 33% of all seniors in this country could qualify for up to $2,019 a month in additional income from the Department of Veterans Affairs. This money can be used to pay just about anyone to provide elder care services at home. As an example, these funds can be used to pay children, other relatives, friends, home care companies, or domestic workers. Adequate documentation and evidence must be provided in order to receive money from VA for these services, particularly the services provided by Family Members or other non-professional providers. The National Care Planning Council furnishes detailed instructions and training to those practitioners who wish to help Veteran households receive this valuable source of revenue to pay for home care.
This little-known source of money for paying long-term care costs is known as Veterans Pension and is avail-able to Veterans who served on active duty during a period of war, or to the single surviving spouses of these Veterans. Pension is also known popularly as the “aid and attendance benefit.” Of approximately 35 million Americans age 65 and older in this country, about 11.5 million are Veterans who served during a period of war or their surviving spouses. This represents about 33% of the senior population.
The Pension benefit has an income and an asset test. Veteran households with income or assets above the test levels will not qualify for the benefit. Fortunately, there are special provisions that allowunder certain circumstances individuals who would normally fail the tests to still qualify. VA typically does not tell potential applicants about the special provisions. A practitioner who understands how to obtain the aid and attendance benefit can help potential applicants receive the benefit even when they have been told by VA that they do not qualify.
Pension income is often used to pay costs of long-term care such as home care, assisted living or nursing home care. That's because the nature of these expenditures allows potential applicants for the aid and attendance benefit to meet the special provisions of the income test.
Over the past months the National Care Planning Council has received requests from Veterans’ Families all over the country who are trying to find help with their loved ones’ long-term care needs. Many of these Veterans households would likely qualify for the aid and attendance benefit mentioned above. As a result of these inquiries, the council wants to train Veterans benefits consultants to help Veterans obtain their benefits and to handle these requests.
Top Jobs from Top Employers
MilitaryFriendly.com now delivers jobs at more than 150 Military Friendly Employers!
Victory Media, a Veteran-owned business founded in 2001, has led the industry as a ratings entity for over a decade, surveying tens of thousands of institu-tions and adjudicating lists that capture best practices in recruitment and retention of military personnel as civilian employees, students and franchisees. In 2003, Victory Media brought the notion of hiring military talent to a new level by conducting a data-driven survey of the Fortune 1000’s military recruitment practices and publishing the first Military Friendly Employers® list.
The survey-driven list of Top Military Friendly Employers has been published every year since. The 2013 Top 100 Military Friendly Employers list includes companies with over $500 million in revenue that exhibit leading practices for military recruitment and retention. These employers represent the top tier of companies with leading employment solutions for military service members and spouses.
Just follow the steps below to create your own custom list of employers and find your dream job. You can rest assured you’re starting your career search with a pre-screened, vetted list of top employers who are vying for military talent.
1. Visit www.militaryfriendly.com
2. Use the filters to make a custom list of employers.
3. Check out the jobs at each employer.
4. Apply online.
5. Save your list and share it with friends.
WALMART’S NEW MISSION: HIRE 100,000 VETS
Wal-Mart Stores Inc., the world’s largest retailer and nation’s largest private employer, is making a pledge to hire more than 100,000 recently discharged veterans in the next five years. The hiring pledge, which will begin on Memorial Day, covers veterans within 12 months of leaving active duty. Most of the jobs will be in Wal-Mart’s stores or its Sam’s club locations. Some will be in the company’s distribution centers.
Read the full article on http://www.military.com/military-report/wal-mart-to-hire-veterans?ESRC=mr.nl
Retirees Not Near Bases to Lose TRICARE Prime October 1
Most of these 171,400 beneficiaries will need to shift health coverage from Prime to TRICARE Standard, the military’s fee-for-service health insurance option. For beneficiaries who use more than preventive health care during the year, the shift will mean higher out-of-pocket costs.
Defense officials expect the move to save the health care system up to $55 million a year.
The rollback in number of Prime service areas will not impact active duty Members or their Families living far from a military base for tours as recruiters or in other remote assignments. Their health insurance through the separate TRICARE Prime Remote program will not change.
But grown children of Members or of retirees who elected coverage under TRICARE Young Adult insurance will, like retirees, lose access to managed care providers under Prime if they reside more than 40 miles from a base.
TRICARE had considered ending Prime in remote service areas of the West Region on April 1, to coincide with change-over for that region’s TRICARE support contactor. On that date, the TriWest Healthcare Alliance will give way to United-HealthCare Services of Minnetonka, Minn.
Congressional committee staffs also had complained about a staggered start across regions to a major benefit change. So the Prime service area rollback will occur in the North, South and West regions simultaneously next fall. This will cause another set of challenges in remote areas of the West Region that an April 1 start there would have avoided.
TriWest needed years to build its current network of providers far from military bases across the region. UnitedHealth will now be paid additional monies under a contract change order to build its own remote networks of providers. Those networks will only operate until October.
How successful UnitedHealth can be in luring providers, or even beneficiaries, to new networks that will be dissolved quickly is anyone’s guess but the scheme has skeptics.
TRICARE’s far more critical challenge, however, is to educate impacted beneficiaries that their Prime coverage will end and most of them will need to shift to TRICARE Standard. An aggressive information campaign is planned with the first of three letters of explanation and warning to be sent to affected beneficiaries and Families within 30 days or by the end of February 2013.
Under Prime, beneficiaries get their care from a designated network of providers for a fixed annual enrollment fee, which for fiscal 2013 is set at $269.28 for individual coverage or $538.56 for Family. Retirees and Family Members also are charged a co-pay of $12 per doctor visit.
Under TRICARE Standard, beneficiaries choose their own physicians and pay no annual enrollment fee. When in need of care, retirees must pay 25 percent of allowable charges themselves. They also pay an annual deductible of $150 for individual or $300 per Family. Total out-of-pocket costs, however, cannot exceed a $3000 per Family catastrophic cap.
Some beneficiaries who see local Prime coverage end will be able to enroll in a remaining Prime network near base. To do so they would have to reside less than 100 miles from that existing network and would have to waive the driving-distance standard that TRICARE imposes for patient safety. That stan-dard when enforced required that an assigned network pro-vider be within a 30-minute drive of the beneficiary’s home.
If displaced Prime beneficiaries meet the two requirements, then an existing network will make room for them regardless of number of beneficiaries enrolled. But joining a new network also will mean new doctors. So most displaced Prime benefici-aries are expected to choose to use TRICARE Standard instead to get care locally and, in many cases from the same physicians who treated them under TRICARE Prime.
The push to end Prime in areas away from bases began in 2007 with design a third generation of TRICARE support contracts. It took years to settle on winning contractors for the three regions, however, due to various bid protests and award rever-sals. Health Net Federal Services has run North Region under the new contract since April 2011. Humana Military Health-care Services has had the South Region under the new contract since April 2012. Along with TriWest, these contractors have continued to run remote Prime networks under temporary order while waiting final word from TRICARE on imposing Prime area restrictions written into original contracts.
The driver behind new restrictions on Prime is cost. Managed care is more cost efficient for the private sector but more expen-sive for the military to offer than traditional fee-for-service insurance. This is true in part because Congress won’t allow Prime fees to keep pace with health inflation. So more benefi-ciaries using Standard means less cost to TRICARE.
Of beneficiaries impacted by the Prime area rollback, more than half, almost 98,000, reside in South Region. Roughly 36,000 are West Region beneficiaries and more than 37,000 are in the North Region.
TRICARE Rx Co-Pay Increases
On Friday, February 1, 2013, many TRICARE benefi-ciaries saw an increase in their prescription costs. Here is a quick rundown on the new TRICARE medication co-pays:
Mail Order – Your new co-pay rates for TRICARE Home Delivery (Mail Order) medications changed as follows (for up to 90-day supplies):
$0 for generic formulary medications – unchanged
$13 for brand-name formulary medications – increased by $4
$43 for non-formulary medications – increased by $18
Network Pharmacy – Your new co-pay rates for Network Pharmacy medications changed as follows (for up to 30-day supplies):
$5 for generic formulary medications – unchanged.
$17 for brand-name formulary medications – increased by $5
$44 for non-formulary medications – increased by $19
Note: If you want to have a 90-day prescription filled, you will pay the copayment for each 30-day supply.
Non-Network Pharmacy – Your new co-pay rates for prescriptions filled at non-network pharmacies medications (including host nation pharmacies) and costs will vary based on your plan and the type of prescription.
TRICARE Prime enrollees will pay 50% cost share after the point of service deductible is met.
TRICARE Standard/Extra, TRICARE Reserve Select, TRICARE Retired Reserve or TRICARE Young Adult enrollees will pay:
Formulary-Generic or Brand Name: $17 or 20% of the total cost, whichever is greater, after the annual deductible is met
Non-Formulary $44 or 20% of the total cost, which-ever is greater, after the annual deductible is met
Military Pharmacies – If you receive your medications through a Military Pharmacy you will continue to get your medications with no co-pay. However, not all medications are available at military pharmacies. For example non-formulary medications are not usually filled at military pharmacies. You should call to
ahead to check on availability.