Submitted by Ed Baisden
COL (Ret) Ed Baisden
Our Virtual Chapter remains healthy and growing. As of 9 November, we have 215 Members in 43 States, representing 124 Congressional Districts. Some of you might be thinking…” Wait a minute, Ed. Your last update said that we had 44 states represented. What happened?” Well, we used to have one member living in Mississippi, but she moved to Texas. That gave us zero representation in MS but upped our membership in TX to 42, for a net loss on one state. We are looking for members to join from AR-DE-MS-ND-SD-VT-WV. How cool would it be to have members in all fifty states? You now have a targeted audience from which to recruit. We continue to try to recruit new members and encourage every member to act as a recruiter. If you think our advocacy efforts are worthwhile, help us expand that influence by suggesting that your friends, who have served as a Uniformed Service Nurse, join us. All they need to do to start the process is to email me at email@example.com with the subject line of “I Want to Join the VC”. This is particularly easy with your friends on Facebook. We have had good results in recruiting FB referrals, but there many members of our FB Group who have not yet joined the VC. It is NOT necessary for an applicant to already be a member of MOAA; I can make that happen very easily as part of the application process. When I have an email address and expression of interest I’ll follow up from there on. We have also created an OUTREACH LETTER with information about the chapter, along with an application form., which includes an easy way to join MOAA for those who are not yet members. I’d like to suggest that you print off a few of these, put them in envelopes and be ready to pass them along to eligible folks you might run into at retirements, promotions or retirement ceremonies. It’s both easy and cheap and these gatherings might present “target-rich environments”.
Although the following has appeared in my earlier postings, I think that it is still pertinent and helpful. Lt Gen Dana Atkins, MOAA CEO, has provided the following thoughts on how to improve our recruiting skills:
“I am finding that growing membership at the chapter level is a recurring theme. We are working on options and programs to assist chapter leaders in recruiting and retaining members. You’ve probably run into this scenario before− you’re talking to a friend or colleague who also happens to be a military officer and you soon realize they have no idea who MOAA is or what we do. You want to share all the great things the organization is doing for the military community and they should join, but sometimes it’s not so easy to articulate. Well, we’re excited to announce a new tool you can use to help spread the MOAA story of success.
The WHY MOAA video is designed to help you easily share with your networks what MOAA does for the military community and why it’s so important to be a part of it. If you know of anyone eligible for MOAA membership that you feel can benefit from the amazing things we do here but weren’t quite sure how to articulate it, this is a great way to share your message.” You can view the video at WHY MOAA<http://www.moaa.org/whymoaa/>.
Thanks very much for your continued support and willingness to “Never Stop Serving”. Cheers…
Submitted by webmaster
COL (Ret) Lorna Griess
National Guard and Reserve Health Coverage
Issue: Commendable progress has been made to provide operational reservists' families a continuum of government-sponsored health care coverage options throughout their military careers into retirement, but key gaps remain.
Background: Operational reserve policy during two protracted wars makes evident the need for comprehensive health coverage options for servicemembers and their families. DoD recognized the need for government health coverage in the 1990s by agreeing to pay the Federal Health Benefits Program (FEHBP) premiums for DoD employees who served in the Guard-Reserve during periods of their active duty service. After 9/11, TRICARE coverage has gradually been expanded for G-R members.
TRICARE programs available to Reservists today include:
TRICARE Reserve Select (TRS). Congress enacted TRS for actively drilling Guard and Reserve families in 2005. Premiums are based on 28% of the cost of coverage for reservists assigned to the Selected Reserve. The 2015 monthly premiums are $50.75 for individual reservists in drill status and $205.62 for member-and-family coverage.
TRICARE Retired Reserve (TRR). A MOAA-proposed TRICARE option for “gray area” reservists was enacted in 2009, providing TRICARE Standard coverage at full premium cost for reservists eligible for retired pay at age 60. Rates for 2015 are $390.89 per month for member-only coverage, and $961.35 for TRR member-and-family coverage.
TRICARE Standard. Career reservists with 20 or more years of qualifying service are entitled to TRICARE coverage at age 60 when they receive reserve retired pay.
TRICARE for Life. Career reservists with 20 or more years of qualifying service are entitled to TRICARE for Life coverage at age 65. MOAA continues to support the remaining steps that will establish a continuum of health coverage for operational reserve families, including members of the Individual Ready Reserve subject to call-up.
Legislative action is needed to:
Challenge the TRR premium rate – nearly 8-fold increase over TRS premiums reservists pay on the day they retire from the Selected Reserve into the Retired Reserve.
Permit employers to pay TRS premiums for reservist-employees as a bottom-line incentive for hiring and retaining them
Permit Selected Reservists who are in federal employment to have the option to participate in TRICARE Reserve Select health coverage, vice the Federal Employees Health Benefit Program.
Authorize an option for the government to subsidize continuation of a civilian employer’s family coverage during periods of activation
Extend corrective dental care following return from a call-up to ensure G-R members meet dental readiness standards.
Ensure G-R members have adequate access and treatment in the DoD and VA health systems for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and Traumatic Brain Injury following separation from active duty service in a contingency operation
Allow eligibility in Continued Health Care Benefits Program (CHCBP) for Selected Reservists who are voluntarily separating and subject to disenrollment from TRS
SURVIVING SPOUSE LIAISON
Submitted by webmaster
LTC (Ret) Susan McKennon
Lt. Gen. Dana Atkins, USAF (Ret) calls on the 116th Congress to repeal the widows tax. Every year military widows miss out on up to $12,000 per year due to the injustice of what is called the widows tax. Contact your representatives and let them know you are for abolishing this undo burden placed on military widows. September 2019
Click on start and expand to full screen for easier viewing
TRANSITION and PERSONAL AFFAIRS
Submitted by webmaster
COL Tonya Dickerson
Expert Advice on the 4 Most Confusing
Health Care Issues Faced by MOAA Members
Transitioning to Medicare/TRICARE for Life
By law, TRICARE Prime and Select stop at age 65, and Medicare/TRICARE for Life takes over. The realization of what this means doesn’t hit most people until they are enrolling in Medicare Parts A & B.
TRICARE recipients aren’t accustomed to monthly premiums, and Medicare Part B has a monthly premium, which is based on your income. For some, the premium can be expensive, ranging from $135 to $460 a month a person.
Also, TRICARE stops being a major medical plan at age 65. It morphs into TRICARE for Life, a Medicare supplement. To be a “supplement,” it has to supplement Medicare Parts A & B. If you don’t receive Medicare Parts A & B, then you won’t be able to qualify for TRICARE For Life. And if you have TRICARE For Life, you can disregard all of those Medicare supplement solicitations you’ll receive.
Here’s one final shocker. Medicare comes in two versions: Original Medicare and Medicare Advantage (aka Part C). It’s your choice. Original Medicare is federal government coverage. Medicare Advantage is coverage by a health care insurance firm. Both count as Parts A & B Medicare because they are Parts A & B Medicare. Advantage plans must provide as much coverage as federal government Medicare by law, but they can provide more coverage. Both work the same with TRICARE for Life.
Do not get Medicare Part D, pharmacy. Some Advantage plans come with a pharmacy plan automatically, so be careful; it will mess with your TRICARE pharmacy plan.
Navigating TRICARE After Service Retirement
You’ll have to choose a TRICARE plan — TRICARE Prime or Select — after you leave the service. Or you can choose a health plan offered by your new employer. Or you can have a combo platter of the employer plan and a TRICARE plan. When you throw in the Health Savings Account (HSA), that can be a bridge too far!
Health care plans come in different forms: PPO, HMO, or HSA. However, if you have more than one plan, it can get messy. We do not suggest you have multiple plans. (Technically, members with TRICARE cannot have a HSA.)
Working After Age 65
Just because you turn 65 doesn’t mean you’re ready to be put out to pasture. Do you have to enroll in Medicare if you are still working? No.
If you’re covered by your employer’s healthcare plan as you continue to work, you can delay Medicare enrollment. You have eight months from the end of your employer’s plan or your retirement date, whichever comes first, to enroll in Medicare. Enroll early to prevent a gap in coverage.
Employer retiree health care plans don’t count. You have to be working and carry the employer plan, and the employer must have 20 or more employees to delay Medicare enrollment.
Remember: If you don’t have Medicare Parts A & B, you can’t have TRICARE for Life. And you cannot continue your TRICARE Prime or Select past age 64. (Yes, TRICARE for Life allows a delay as the Medicare does.)
Children Aging Out of TRICARE
Dependent kids age out of TRICARE at age 21, or 23 if they are enrolled in college. Here are your options if you want them covered for a longer period of time.
TRICARE Young Adult covers children until they turn age 26. Check it out online. Hold on to your bottom when you see the monthly premium amount.
Check your employer’s health care coverage for their rules on children.
Check with the college health services’ office for student coverage.
Go to ehealthinsurance.com and search for various forms of coverage for kids. Consider catastrophic coverage or a high deductible plan if your child is healthy