In Hawaii, retired service members are not being treated equally wrt our Health Insurance. As we all know Tricare comes in two plans. Tricare “Standard” and Tricare “PRIME”.
The Standard plan has no premium but high cost for doctor visits and hospitalization (20% – which could equal thousands of dollars per year). A relatively healthy retired service member may prefer the Standard plan.
The Prime plan does have a premium (very low about $75/mo), but covers nearly ALL Hospital costs and only a $12 Co-Pay for doctor visits. Service members in poorer health needing Hospital procedures and doctors visits may prefer the Prime plan.
Prior to 10/1/2013 retired service members could choose the plan that best fit their needs. NO MORE. As of 10/1/2013 ONLY retired service members on Oahu are allowed the Prime plan.
This is WRONG and MUST be corrected. We ALL earned equal healthcare treatment by virtue of 20 years of Honorable Active Military or Naval Service. We are NOT now receiving that equal treatment
If retired service members on any other island need multiple medical visits and hospital care but can NOT AFFORD these new costs, the governments answer is TOUGH LUCK, TO BAD, OH WELL. I’ve been forced to cancel a procedure that my doctor and two consulting physicians say I need. I had to take this action because I can NOT AFFORD the new cost associated with Tricare Standard. I could easily afford it under the PRIME plan I’ve paid into since 1996.
I contacted my Member of Congress (Tulsi Gabbard) and received no action from her. She reported back to me only that this was directed by DOD and that I should contact Tricare and request a waiver. I contacted Tricare and was informed there “IS” no waiver I can request if I live on Maui.
So here we are. Hawaii’s retired service members, brother and sisters in arms, who earned equal retirement benefits but NOT receiving them.
Under this proposal, beneficiaries who live more than 40 miles, but not more than 100 miles, from a Military Treatment Facility or a base closure site may apply for a waiver which would allow them to remain on TRICARE Prime.
Aloha Representative Gabbard:
Mahalo for your timely reply.
The “correction” you suggest does not help us on Maui. I’ve contacted Tricare and have been told the option you suggested “Does Not Apply to Maui”. We cannot even apply for the waiver if we live on Maui. So here we are on Maui, STILL not receiving EQUAL Retirement Benefits as our fellow Veterans on Oahu. THIS IS NOT RIGHT!!! And it MUST be corrected. We ALL served 20+ years of Honorable Active Military or Naval Service. We ALL “EARNED” the same Retirement Benefits. But we are not all RECEIVING the same Retirement Benefits.
As I mentioned in my initial email, I can NOT afford the Hospital costs associated with Tricare “Standard”. I been forced to tell my doctor to cancel a procedure that she and two consulting physicians agree I need, because I can NOT afford it now. I could if I still had the “PRIME” plan I’ve paid into since 1996.
Please take some action on this. Offer up legislation to treat all Hawaii’s retired service members EQUAL again. PLEASE. Pick up Senator Inouye’s sword and FIGHT for Hawaii’s Veterans in his spirit. You know it’s the “Right thing to do”.
If not you, who?
If not now, when?
Chief Mark Gallup
United States Navy (Ret.)