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FY 2015 Defense Budget Plan Calls For Higher Tricare Fees; Robert Gates Comments

Robert Gates
Robert Gates

The White House’s defense budget proposal for fiscal year 2015 includes increases to out-of-pocket costs for beneficiaries under the Tricare military healthcare system, Federal News Radio reported Tuesday.

Michael O’Connell writes the plan subjects family members of an active-duty soldier to pay between $10 and $50 in co-payments per visit to a Tricare-affiliated healthcare provider and pay 20 percent of their medical bills to a non-network clinician.

Robert Gates, former defense secretary, told the radio station that the Pentagon’s healthcare spending rose from $12 billion in 2000 to nearly $60 billion in 2011.

Gates said that benefits and compensation account for more than a third of the department’s budget, according to O’Connell.

“If you say you can’t change any of that, then what you end up doing is ending up with significantly less military capability,” he added, according to the station.

Military retirees who fall below Medicare eligibility would pay a $572 enrollment fee a year and all retirees would be responsible for 0.5 percent of their annual pensions, O’Connell reports.

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