TRICARE Trials & Tribulations
Back in January 2006, DID covered a GAO report that pegged the average for active duty enlisted personnel and officer compensation at $112,000 a year, 51% of which takes the form of health care and other benefits. Not only were those benefits not driving motivating retention in proportion to their compensation competitiveness, a series of benefits increases were driving up costs rapidly in the short term. Over the longer term, meanwhile, a single health care benefit extension enacted in 2000 was estimated have a true financial statement liability of $293 billion.
DID readers who had perused “US Military Benefits Costs Spiraling” were unsurprised, therefore, when our coverage of the proposed FY 2007 US defense budget noted a number of new provisions aimed at controlling the rise in health care costs. Now Tom Philpott of “Military Update” covers the resulting debate. Under-secretary of Defense David S. C. Chu noted that military health costs, which have doubled since 2001, could double again by 2015. Nevertheless, raising TRICARE fees and co-payments from their previous static amounts is provoking opposition.