ETX veterans angry over insurance coverage changes
POSTED: Wednesday, March 6, 2013 - 6:40pm
UPDATED: Sunday, March 10, 2013 - 4:58pm
Tyler (KETK) — Some East Texas veterans tell KETK they recently received a letter in the mail they are furious about.
One local vet, who wishes to remain anonymous, says his insurance is being discontinued in the form that it once was.
He says he has spoke with a handful of vet friends already just in the past few days, some even from out of state, who got the same letter.
The man says retired military members have the option to buy supplemental insurance under a program called TRICARE.
Under TRICARE's Prime plan, the man, among other, paid a small fee every year for his family and had a low co-pay.
The letter stated that as of October 1, 2013, that coverage will no longer be available.
The letter stated he would then be automatically covered under different TRICARE coverage, TRICARE Standard.
He looked into that new plan, and says it would now require him to pay 20 percent of the cost of procedures out of pocket.
An exception: he has the option to move within 40 miles of a military base if he wants keep his old plan.
The letter also suggests even getting insurance through an employer.
The man we spoke with says he remembers The President saying his insurance coverage was not going to change, and now it is.
"I'll tell you, I spent 26 years in the Navy doing things that I cant talk about today," he said. "... Yet it doesn't seem to really matter. And I'm mad as hell."
The letter the man and other veterans received is attached to this story.
TRICARE released the following statement to KETK:
"Beginning October 1, 2013, TRICARE Prime will no longer be available to some beneficiaries. Prime Service Areas (PSAs) are geographic areas in the United States where TRICARE Prime is offered and some are being eliminated. This will mean no change to any beneficiary's pharmacy or dental coverage."
PSA changes will not affect:
Active duty service members and family enrolled in TRICARE Prime* Activated Guard/Reserve members and family enrolled in TRICARE Prime* Surviving spouses of deceased active duty service members enrolled in TRICARE Prime* Surviving children of deceased active duty service members enrolled in TRICARE Prime* Children of active duty service members using TRICARE Young Adult-Prime Beneficiaries who already use TRICARE Standard and Extra Beneficiaries using TRICARE Retired Reserve, TRICARE Reserve Select, TRICARE Young Adult-Standard or TRICARE For Life.
Retirees and their family members will automatically be eligible for TRICARE Standard which has no premium or enrollment fee, but has copays and deductibles. For ALL TRICARE beneficiaries out-of-pocket expenses are capped at $3,000/year.
TRICARE offers a ZIP Code Look-up to help you find out if you live in an area that is affected by the PSA changes. If you do, your regional contractor will mail you a letter explaining your future TRICARE health care options and where to get more information."