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View Diary: The Grand Bargain: Gutting Tricare - the sacred health insurance program for the military (36 comments)

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  •  I've always had to pay a prescription drug co-pay. (2+ / 0-)
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    llbear, VeloVixen

    And I have been on TriCare since 1986.

    I think it is important to understand what the proposal involves. It only involves the co-pay for prescription drugs and no other benefit under TriCare.  At present, the co-pay only kicks in if a beneficiary chooses to get prescriptions filled at a retail pharmacy. If you take the prescription to the nearest military facility and get the prescription filled there, there is no co-pay. I am not sure if this "free on base" benefit will change under the proposal. If it will change, I will be angry.

    If the goal is to reduce spending on prescription drugs for TriCare beneficiaries, it probably means that the co-pay will most likely increase. But remember, paying a co-pay is really a matter of choice right now.

     Currently, the monthly co-pay is $12.00 per prescription for formulary (usually generic or patent expired) drugs and up to $25.00 per prescription for non-formulary (usually brand name drugs) for a one month supply if you get your prescriptions filled at a retail pharmacy. If you get them filled through the TriCare ExpressScripts system by mail, you pay one month's co-pay for a three month supply. This is pretty much the same under Medicare Part D and virtually all prescription supplemental plans.

    So in the final analysis, right now, the co-pay only kicks in on TriCare beneficiaries if they choose to NOT have their prescriptions filled at a military facility where the costs of drugs are better controlled by the Pentagon's ability to negotiate prices. If they choose to go to retail pharmacies, the co-pays are not too unreasonable, and TriCare itself offers a plan to reduce the costs by
    two-thirds.

    I am currently spending about $110.00 every three months for 7 prescriptions that I take for various chronic conditions. If I drove down to Camp Pendleton, I would spend about $20.00 in gas and 3 hours. For me, it really is a matter of convenience, and my retirement pay from the military more than covers my prescription drug costs.

    Bottomline: The proposal is NOT suggesting in anyway that TriCare or TriCare for Life be taken away from beneficiaries. It is only the prescriptions costs that are being looked at. And these are optional under current law - one can avoid them by simply going on base.

    So while I will continually monitor my benefits, I don't know if I can get too excited about the "grand bargain" proposal as it currently seems to be. I'm willing to do my part to help out, just as I was willing to serve for 22 years. Just so long as it is fair. Now, if it were to be unfair, that's a different story.

    The foolish and the dead alone never change their opinions. James Russell Lowell

    by Serendipity on Tue Nov 13, 2012 at 08:20:59 AM PST

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