Tricare Prime Under Fire

A proposal from Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., could potentially make it more difficult for retirees and active-duty family members to get healthcare. McCain has proposed barring military retirees from signing up for Tricare Prime, the least expensive Tricare option available to them. Tasked with making deficit-reduction decisions, the Senate Armed Services Committee will take a close look at veteran benefits.

Approximately 5.2 million people are currently enrolled in Tricare Prime, with 1.5 million of those potentially being affected by McCain’s plan. Nearly 71 percent of retirees and retiree family members in Tricare Prime rely entirely on the military for health care. That would drop to 35 percent and reduce Tricare costs by $111 billion over 10 years under the McCain proposal, according to the Congressional Budget Office’s estimate.

Factored into the CBO’s savings estimate is that veterans and families forced out of Prime would voluntarily reduce doctors visits and other expenses because of the higher fees. The proposal could have the secondary effect of reducing the number of civilian doctors willing to accept patients in the Tricare network because of low reimbursements. Tricare Prime patients must be accepted by doctors in the network, but Tricare Extra and Standard carry no such mandate.

While an Oct. 14 letter to the deficit panel from Republicans on the House committee urges “caution” when considering cuts in benefits for current and future retirees, the plan has attracted bipartisan support, including Sen. Carl Levin, D-Mich.

McCain’s proposal is one of many being considered in closed-door deliberations of the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction, beginning Oct. 19, with decisions expected by Nov. 18.

TRICARE UPDATE: As of October 1, 2011 military retirees who choose to enroll in TRICARE Prime will be required to pay an increased annual enrollment fee of $260 (individual) and $520 (family). Currently enrolled retirees will begin paying the new annual enrollment fees in January 2012.

Trivia Question #2: In the 1920’s, this Devil Dog enlisted for the “term of life.” This hard-charging Marine was promoted from Private to Sergeant Major within three years. He died shortly after, but was buried with full military honors. What was his name?


Photo thanks to

67 thoughts on “Tricare Prime Under Fire”

  1. I think Sen McCain’s proposal to stop us already enrolled in TRICARE Prime to have to with draw from it. He probably gets his healthcare for free what does he care about us retirees.

    1. why should he care,he got to much money,and afrad he cant get richer,unless he herts american people,thats why noone wonted him for president,you thank what we got know is bad,hes already tryed to cut socal security off once,and alot more,i just wish he would out of goverment altogather,it would be better for all of us

    2. Actually, what ever his worth, John McCain earned lifetime health care for being a prisner of war. That said, he probably has better insurance than Tricare and doesn’t use his benefits. If he did he would see that, for retirees (me) or people on fixed income, the copays are what gets you if you can find a Dr. who takes Tricare and these are getting sparser each day. Tricare doesn’t approach paying doctors half of their usual fee and what they do reimburse is an insult to the skill and training they have gone through. In trying to find a GOOD doctor, the ones I called said they couldn’t cover their over head with what Tricare paid. So people like me (and I know I’m not alone) has to forego any treatment at all for serious and chronic/progressive illnesses

  2. This is RIDICULOUS! We EARNED these privileges and most of us gave 20 plus years of loyal, dedicated and honorable service for our country. It seems every time we turn around, a “politician” is trying to cut our benefits. Come on Senator McCain, I guess this doesn’t affect YOU because you’re going to make sure you ALWAYS have health care and the we’ll pay for it. STOP jeopardizing our futures and make cuts elsewhere, starting with YOUR PAY!!!!!

  3. The Government’s promise of health care for life for retirees has been changed so often that retirees don’t believe anything anymore. Cancelling Tricare Prime for retirees and family members can only jeopardize the current fighting forces, since there is little incentive for retention. POW’s get medical care for life due to the extreme hardships they faced. Unfortunately, for non-medically retired personnel the VA and US Government does not take the aging retired population into consideration when they make these kinds of decisions for them.

  4. Sorry about my last comment I didn’t really finish what I meant to say was his decision to stop those of us already enrolled in TRICARE Prime is full of hot water. Where does he get off taking away from us retirees. Why doesn’t congress take a cut in their salary that would lower the national budegt. Byt that’s too easy.

  5. Why in the hell don’t he thing about spending less in DC??? How about his speeding on himself and the rest of the duds in Dc. How about stopping the funds to the UN and foreign aid. How about getting his head out of his ass… He is starting to act more like Obama every day…

  6. Paul Jackson because they are dumber than a post and have no business being in DC. BUT, who keeps putting them back in office. Now there are the dumb asses….

  7. Veterans and retirees earned the benefits they receive. To force them into a situation where they have to use other insurance or pay out-of-pocket for their healthcare is a slap in the face – “your service didn’t mean squat to us”

    The people making these decisions may or may not have served, but are making a lot more and getting more benefits during their tenure of elected office/ because of their position than most will hope to make in a lifetime of service. Why not look at cutting their own benefits when looking for ways to save – their position is elected – it should be a priviledge to serve our great nation, maybe even go without a paycheck or two – they are making another income on top of it, anyway.

  8. McBlunder and Oblunder are one of a kind… They don’t care about you and never have. They pay 500 dollars a year for their medical health crap in the medical facility located in DC. He don’t give a crap about you and neither does any of the lame ducks in DC. I will not vote for an incumbent this next year and I don’t care what party I have to vote for to the the current bastards out…

  9. this is total crap. he doesnt pay crap for his healthcare. yes he is a veteran but he gets his through congreesional care at the best of the best. he also gets retirement for life. Glad he didnt win presidency.

  10. I served my country for twenty seven years, seventeen active and ten years in the army reserve. Next year I will be sixty, when I joined the military I was promised if I served twenty years I would not have to pay for health care. Now there is this thing call tri-care. Next year I will be eligible for my retirement, since I retired from the reserve. Now I’m hearing tri-care may not be available to me. It is a shame what the politicians are doing to the people that fought to keep our country save and free, and to the american people in general.

  11. where else can you serve 2 years and get retirement for life without putting a single penney in it. congress. im voting against ever single incumbant there is. The GOP has gotten to the point where they make me sick and i was one of their biggest supporters. now i support them all out.

  12. This is ridiculous, but doesn’t surprise me! I guess it comes as more of aa shock to me since McCain is a veteran himself. Unfortunately, he doesn’t appear to be an advocate for veterans and the benefits we earned defending his and every other politicians freedom! Proposed changes of veteran’s benefits really shows just how much these ASSHOLES think of us veterans! Yet, these politicians are set up for LIFE and some have never served in the military one single day! I think serving in the military should be a requirement for politicians. This might eliminate this type of proposal to take away what we all EARNED!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! So Sad!

  13. Mr. John McCain- I really am disappointed in you. How can YOU of all politicians even THINK of taking away ANY benefits from our military! There are so many other areas to cut-PLEASE DON’T take ANYTHING from our brave men & women in the military OR their families!!!! As you might remember, they put their lives on the line for each one of us. I would like to thank you for your service, sir, but I’m sure you don’t need the benefits you wish to take from our brave military as we pay for yours (& your benefits are alot BETTER than the pittance we are paying for theirs)….I’m thinking if we would CUT ALL the benefits from our politicians-we would save alot more than cutting our militarys’ benefits…..what do you think? Thanks for your time!!!!

  14. I voted for McClain for President – I am a registered republican and I stand by my party. Most of all I voted for McClain because he is ex-military and should understand the sacrifices our Military both past and present make every day we’re in uniform. Our retirees didn’t cry too much when we did not receive any COLA over the last few years. We lived with it and made our pensions stretch as best as we could. Take Tricare Prime away or increase enrollment fees? .. I agree with Amy – we’re protecting your asses .. Ronald Reagan is looking down shamefully on this, no doubt ..

  15. This is yet another promise that would be broken. Even though those in office may have served in the military, they only serve themselves now. To keep taking benifits from veterans is criminal. All who support this proposal or any proposal that would take a veterans benifit away should be charged with treason. Politicians are always targeting the wrong people. How about cutting the benefits for those in congress that don’t have to dodge bullets and bombs, but get outrageous medical and retirement packages.

  16. what are we supposed to do for insurance? Tricare Prime is not the cheapest as there is Tricare standard, My husband spent 23 yrs in the Navy, gone for 10yrs away at sea, what else do the fatcats want? They take and take and take, this country is going down hill big time, especially when they cant take care of their vets!!! and the families that have served along side of them. McCain time for you to go, you have major brain problems, that was obvious 3 yrs ago in your choice of VP. I was going to vote for you until then. Your state needs to get rid of you. You can retire on your pension and live the fatcat way. The rest us have to worry how we are going to make it. Or if we will make it at all. You and your buddies in DC wont care either way.

  17. He’s not worried about it because he’s old and won’t be using his any more. Wow, this guy has sucked off of the government tit for a looooooong time and now he forgets that there is a price that the govenment must pay for sending its citizens to war and that price is healthcare!!! Senator, raise your arms straight up in the air!! You can’t because your shoulders are ruined from being tortured? How about the others who can’t raise their hands?

  18. McCain is the last one I thought would stab the Military and the Vet in the back and also being a Vietnam Vet myself I stayed in the Army and Army Reserve for 27 years believing I could trust my country. I was crazy to think America would keep it,s word.

  19. Rodney Davis, CMSgt, USAF Ret

    Sen McCain, You are showing disrespect to those of us that have Served in the Military and those currently serving by making such a proposal. Don’t you realize that the freedoms that you enjoy would not be possible without all that has and is being done by the members of the Armed Forces. Many of the current and former military members would be without health insurance if you are successful in your proposal. If you are in your right mind and think this over I am sure that you will know that it is wrong. God Bless America.

  20. I say he has totally forgotten where he comes from and who has backed him for so many years, used to it was us against them, now its so hard to tell friend from foe so I say……VOTE ALL OF THEM OUT!!! SEND A MESSAGE!!!! We are tired…..tired of being lied to, tired of not being represented and most of all tired of the mickey mouse BS of DC. I am so sorry that you were a POW, but do remember this, we think you have forgotten about us, the retirees here in the US. Think about that for awhile Mac.

    Semper Fi,

  21. I worked hard for 20 years for my benefits. John McCain nor anyone else has the right to change or cancel what I’ve earned. They may want to reconsider what they do to what was agreed to in my military contract concerning my benefits for me and my family!!!!!!!!!!!!

  22. My father served 26 years (1949-1975), raised a family, 3 tours SE Asia, kept his nose clean, did everything he was supposed to mainly because of the promise of healthcare for life. Now he’s about to be 80 and not only was he forced to go into TriCare in the first place, you want to increase the cost to him?! BULL!!!!!!!!!!

  23. Ammendmant 28 for another…
    Proposed Amendment # 28 to the US Constitution

    “Congress shall make no law that applies to any citizen of the United States that does not apply equally to all US Senators and Representatives. Congress shall make no law that applies to any US Senator or Representative that does not apply equally to all citizens of the United States. All existing laws and regulations that do not meet these criteria shall be declared null and void!”

    It’s our country, let’s take it back!

  24. Some people forget where they came from. McCain is just another policitian trying to make himself look good. POW or not pull your head out of your ass and start doing what you did as a POW to get where you are now (THE RIGHT THING!!!).

  25. The usual, inflate and expand benefits when they need more troops, cut benefits when they don’t. Imagine if they would cut their own pay and benefits. The fox is guarding the hen house. I predict that when national emergencies and war on terror is over it will get worse and the economy will improve. Seems they can always get us into a war when the economy is down.

  26. Mr McCain should look in mirror to see who he is. He is a complete #sshole for even thinking this way. Vietnamese should have done him in while they had the chance.

  27. McCain has forgotten where he came from and has turned his back on his Veteran Brother’s. Well, he’s coming off any type of list I had him on, especially the Christmas card list!! He does have medical insurance for the rest of his life, and a paycheck that no vet could get. Living in the Beltway has corrupted him also!!

  28. Russell Carnes Jr

    I have always wondered why these idiots in DC always go after the elderly and the Veterans whenever they need to cut spending. I agree with some of the others, that they should cut their pay first. I did security for the House Arms Senate Committee when they visited Berlin, let me tell you they stayed at the most expensive Hotel in Berlin. All they did was walk around the wall, had lunch at the Reichstadt, and a few other choice things that I won’t go into. I say shame on all of them. Vote them out! We need to stick together.

  29. Shame on him. What about all the high paid public service employees with their over inflated pensions and healthcare plans. We spend 20 years serving our country. The pension we get for retirement is nickels compared to what Federal employees receive. The cut needs to be done in our super sized gov’t pensions not the Military.

  30. all they know to do is take away from us because we do nothing about it all of them get their medical insurance free and ever thing else free they dont have to pay rent elect gas nothing so they dont worry about you and me they dont have to we put them in office thats the good thing for them

  31. I think its a shame that they have to take the help from people who really need it and not the people who can aford it i served 25 years in the National Guard that is along time out of a persons life i think we deserve everything we get thank you

  32. Than everyone in congress need to provide for their own medical needs and do not use military facilities nor be enrolled in goverment health care plans. After all it is being supplemented by tax payers dollars. As a Viet Nam viet who never filed for benefits I think McCain has made a bundle and has been serving the public for years based on his military past and now he want to hurts the guys who only get less than 50% of what they made while on active duty. For all the ones trying to cut what we depend on and what we had to go through to get it need to be voted out. They call the military heroes yet they want to cut medical. One way or another they are proving they really dont care for the little man/woman and they are quick to jump on a military flight and travel to praise the one fighting and say we support you. Cant say what I really want to.

  33. Kenneth Schaefer

    As a retiree I have seen our bennies dwindle. I think if they take ours then the politicians should not get their bennies too. (health care for life ?) cut that out and save the government tons. I SAY VOTE OUT ALL INCUMBENTS….Starting with McCain !!!!!

  34. Dan Hatcher CPO RET USN

    Sen MC What has happened your feeble mind? You were one that I had some respect for. As you move up I guess you don”t remember what we went through in Vietnam, and the 18 hr days aboard ship. But now you are not that any more. you are now a US SENATOR with unlimited benefits lifetime retirement open checkbook to impress your buddies back home with the taxpayers money that you took away from someone that is trying to make it on military retirement. another thing you beltway bandits have even screwed up the VA to where you have to have a lawyer.

  35. Valida McMichael

    What do you expect from a man that doesn’t even know how many houses he owns? I’m sure his family will be well taken care of if something would happen to him. But as a widow, that was cheated out of what I was told the government would pay me. I needed Tricare Prime before I turned 65 because my husband was told that Tricare for Life would meet all my needs. Not so, they will increase or cancel all the promises they made my husband. He is gone so since I was just an appendage the 26 years he served then staying alive any longer is a strain on my country. Thanks McCain. A turncoat by any other name. I get to pay the widow’s tax and should be greatfull the VA gave my husband 100% disability 17 years late, only because a cavillian doctor put a devibulator in his chest to keep his heart going. The VA sure as hell didn’t. So since only the military are asked to sacraffice for their country, only the military are expected to do the right thing, only the military can keep being asked to give, give, give even when sick and dying. Well my husband couldn’t get life insurance after he retired from the military and we weren’t able to provide for me in my old age the way many folks get to. Because he had a heart attack when he was 48 and then again at 49. He was lucky to survive and yes they were service connected. His life was nothing but stress the last 15 years of service, but he did what was needed for his country. So I guess folks and especially you John McCain, I should just crawl off in the desert and die, that way I won’t make anyone now uncomfortable becuase they lied and lied and lied to people like me and my husband.

  36. Scott Victor Ward

    And to think McCain was my friggin’ C.O. back @ VA-174, NAS Cecil Field in ’76. Boy he really bugs the pi$$ out of me now. He can ki$$ my retired a$$. I kinda figgured he would pull some lowdown, dirty “Trick” and “Treat” us like a red-headed step-child. Go figure. Now we gotta pay twice as much for half the “Tricare”. We could all get together and storm the Capitol and run his a$$ up up a flagpole, but I wouldn’t dirty my flagpole. Thanks for the rant.

  37. Don’t be angrified with Ole John.

    Just remember, Ole John pulled himself up by his bootstraps. The poor & needy son of an Admiral, who was also the son of an Admiral.

  38. Dear Sen. McCain,

    Are you kidding me? I am absolutely appalled that you of all people would come up with such a hairball idea in order to cut the deficit. I have seen you and even talked to you on a few occasions while you were visiting the wounded warriors at Bethesda NNMC now Walter Reed National Medical Center @ Bethesda. How could you even consider let alone submit such a proposal knowing that most of the wounded warriors you visit will be medically retired and have to rely on the Tri-Care Medical system along with all those that served 20+ years and retired honorably and have earned that benefit.

    How about this – Why should anyone who doesn’t retire from a government agency be entitled to government retirement benefits. Consider this for a proposal: All Senators & Congressmen take a pay cut, pay health care insurance premiums just like any other government employee and unless they are re-elected and serve 20 years or better in either capacity, they have no retirement benefit. That would save trillions of dollars. Please stop targeting Veterans & the elderly in the attempt to lower the deficit – try something else.

  39. This is hard for me to believe that John MACAIN WOULD DO THIS TO us Vets,I worked the flight line for 26 years , my landing gear and back went to sh*t ,and I can hardly walk properly to get to the pisser without pain and some fu**er wants to take away more of our benefits, this shit did not start to happen until the person in office now on the hill.Thank God We still have the VA and DAV! God bless there hearts for helping us VETs in time of need .Mr. Macain your a old man now ,don,t make a mastake like taking away helthcare for us that served, before God calls on you . MSGT Daniel Patten Retired.

  40. I understand that we need to make cuts to lower the national debt. But I feel we need to start at the top with our cutting back on the outlandish health and retirement benefits we give to our thieving politicians. I do believe the time our Honorable senator spent as a pow has sucked out his brain. Myself being a Vietnam veteran, I believe it a disgrace for the Senate Armed Services Committee to even consider cuts to our veterans and their families.

  41. McCain is a FAKE! He has forgotten what it was all about. He now gets all his medical, dental, mailings, etc., etc., FREE; all on the backs of the veterans he supposedly served for and supports. All he wants is glory now and look at me.

  42. Mccain is just another rich politician who only cares about himself, I hope he dies of the black plague! These politician are a piece of work!!

  43. TO ALL

  44. Rick, US ARMY Retired (DAV)

    I think John McCain is selling out the Veterans and Military Retired to ensure he keeps his Senate Position. John I hope you fall on hard times so we can piss on you.

  45. Gordon Plumlee, USA Retired

    Those who are already in the system should be grandfathered and protected. They should be able to retain TRICARE Prime. When you reach 65 you have to purchase Medicare B which guarantees you TRICARE For Life which costs me approximately $240 a month. I can’t sustain any additional costs. We need to be protected.

  46. Jeff Lassard, Navy Retired

    Lets all work together and get McCain voted out office and anyone else who tries to take our benefits away. we all gave 20 or more years of deidcated seervice to this country and this is how those forsaken politicians want to pay us backk, even one who served and was a POW.

  47. Douglas Duckett USA Ret

    When I first joined the Army, I was promised health care if I served my country and retired. Well I stuck it out and just retired last month (medical/ Combat related). One thing I learned after 30 years of contractual and actual service was “You Lead from the Front”. We call these elected officials, Leaders, but I have not seen much leadership from DC since Ronald Reagan. When the politicians cut their benefits, then I will seriously consider having mine cut. When THEY lead by example in every way that I had to, then I will consider following. It is a crying shame that we had/ have to live by a higher standard of values and morals then our leaders. Ol’ Hale the Kings and Noblemen, seems we did not learn much since the Revolution.

  48. I agree with all of you concerning our health care benefits, but bloging does nothing. We all need to be smothering the phone lines of congress, and our senators, making a fuss at the VFW and every other military organization. Everyone needs to be sending lengthy emails to the media, demanding that they take this issue and cover the TV with it. Our problem is we all sit back and complain and let 1 person make a decision for us. If “all” retired military and “their families” start making a very loud fuss and letting our representatives know we will not sit back and be stepped on like garbage we will be eventually heard. Everyone must be involved. The fact is their are thousands that will be effected by McCain’s proposal. If every senator, and every congressmen get thousands of letters, and phonecalls daily demanding them not to vote for this they will eventually become concerned about their own election and future in government. They will vote against McCain. If we keep our mouth shut and just sit back and complain, people like McCain will take our rights that we honestly earned and were promised. You were all a fighing force that kicked ass and pressed on. If you are a retired vet you are a strong determined person, don’t let anyone tell you different. It’s time we all stand as one and kick ass and press on again!

  49. It is time for all veterans to contact your Senator and Congress man.
    Let them know how you feel. They will do what ever they think they can get away with because they think nobodys watching. Let them hear your voice. I have written 6 letters today on this health care issue. It is shamful that Mr. McCain sees no problem throwing military veterans under the bus. I would encourage everyone when the time comes to not vote for John McCain. This is a sad day for america’s military and its veterans. The politicans keep comparing the military to other federal employees. When was the last time one of them was being shot? The idea that you can gut miltary benefits and still attract people to join is just plan naive and misguided. Please Let Congress Hear your voices. Write or phone them with your concerns. The squeaking wheel gets the grease. What has happend to our once great nation?

  50. I don’t find $260/520 to be unreasonable. My wife always gets into “conflicts” with TriCare designated doctors, so we pay allot more on individual visits with Ticare basics “support”. I wish I could pay $260 and get my wife taken care of, with signifacantly lower deductables or treatment at mil facilities every year!

  51. My husband spent 30 years in the Marine Corp (1946 – 1976). I am his 3rd wife we have been married 30 years. I am 58 years old, I lost my job of 12 years in Dec. 2010. In June 2011 my doctor found a mass on my Pancreas. It took 2 months, an endoscopy, a laprascopy and a ct scan to take biospies of the mass. I had 3 CT’s to determine the size and location of the mass. I saw a oncologist, a general surgeon and a transplant surgeon. I had 3 stays in the hospital. The surgery removed 85% of the Pancreas and the Spleen. Good news no cancer. If I did not have Tricare Prime I would not have been able to receive the medical treatments. I live in Arizona, Senator McCain will not be getting my vote come election time.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.