Jun 28, 2020

Understanding the Coronavirus Changes to Tricare

Changing Benefits for Vets?

From New York to California, the expansion of Tricare insurance benefits by waiving copays may be just what military families need during the current pandemic. Legislation ending the script fees are a reaction to the current reality and a means to say thank you to those who put their lives on the line in service of this country. This topic is especially personal to me.

As a disabled former Marine, I think the best service for my injured comrades in arms should be second to none. I served with some of the best people our nation has to offer. They deserve the best-- and more. This new insurance proposal has some of the hallmarks of a potential success-- with some caveats. The proposal seems like it has a lot of positives.

Looking at Both Sides of the V.A. Coin.

One of my chief concerns is whether or not related agencies can handle an expansion of claims, or changes to the Tricare rules. The DoD has experience in the field, to be sure. However, other branches of the government, such as the VA, haven't always been nimble serving our warriors in arms. The crucial errors and delays of the VA last decade leave me more than a little cynical about their ability to implement such a program.

The bipartisan legislation does allow for both active duty service members and veterans to breathe a bit easier. Considering the strain on prescription drug availability and cost, this is a key help for their families. The DoD plans to waive fees ranging from $10-$60 for such drugs during the length of the pandemic. Allowing vets and their families to use regular civilian pharmacies or the Tricare mail-order system has many benefits.

As listed above, the issues revolving around the Coronavirus still stand. These include shortening supplies of important meds like albuterol-- important both for asthma and COVID symptoms. The legislation is making its way through Congress sponsored by Democrat Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona and Republican Roger Wicker of Mississippi as the Tricare Prescriptions Relief Act. Its chances of passages are quite good. I'll keep an eye on the topic and report back to you on any legal or medical ramifications for military families.