Pentagon Gutting TRICARE Prime for 30,000 People
According to reporting by Military Times, some 20,000 TRICARE Prime beneficiaries will lose access to their plan, as of April 1, according to Pentagon sources familiar with the matter.
From the article:
The Pentagon is moving ahead with plans to slash its network of Tricare Prime providers, starting by eliminating the Prime option in three states and two cities in the Tricare West region.
As of April 1, as many as 30,000 Prime beneficiaries — retirees, Active Guard and Reserve troops, and family members — in Iowa; Minnesota; Oregon; Reno, Nev.; and Springfield, Mo., will have to switch to Tricare Standard, a traditional fee-for-service health plan, according to a source with knowledge of the reorganization.
Pentagon officials would not confirm that the five areas will lose Prime in April.
The areas lie outside Prime service areas covered under new Tricare regional contracts awarded by the Pentagon.
More details on precisely who is affected and how are available at the link.
The cuts aren’t exactly a surprise: They were first proposed in 2007, as a way to preserve scarce medical resources for active duty families when the military medical system was getting overstressed by deployments.
The cuts aren’t purely a Democratic initiative, either: While the Democrats held both the House and Senate in 2007, it is Republicans who hold the House now. And while Democrat Barack Obama is the Commander in Chief, GOP Senator John McCain, the former presidential candidate from Arizona, also went on record last year advocating similar cuts as a way to preserve training and operations budgets from the ravages of sequestration.