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TriCare for Life?
Old 02-23-2004, 09:30 AM   #1
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TriCare for Life?

Any retired military folks here? I retired from the Navy Reserves in 1994 with 24 years. I'm qualified for a Navy pension and "Tricare for Life" which is the military's retirement health plan. Although I am retired from the Navy Reserves, I have no pension or health insurance until I turn 60, at which time I get both.

I'm 57 and plan to retire from my "real job" this year. My company will pay a pension, and at least for now offers health insurance. It's not much, but it is insurance. They pay as primary health care insurance until Medicare starts at age 65.

I'm just curious how TriCare is working out for people. And, I wonder if I might ought to drop my civilian job's retirement health care at age 60 and use TriCare as my primary health insurance. I have no idea how these "primary" health covereages actually cover bills.

I know this info can be found "at the source" but it's interesting to hear how others have handled their situations.

Thanks.
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Re: TriCare for Life?
Old 02-23-2004, 12:10 PM   #2
 
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Re: TriCare for Life?

I'm just curious how TriCare is working out for people. And, I wonder if I might ought to drop my civilian job's retirement health care at age 60 and use TriCare as my primary health insurance. I have no idea how these "primary" health covereages actually cover bills.

I know this info can be found "at the source" but it's interesting to hear how others have handled their situations.

Thanks.


Hi, 20 yrs regular AF here. I have had no problems with Tricare and I have been quite sick and/or damaged since I retired 8 yrs ago.

My only "newsworthy" observation... I would not use the PPO style TriCare prime. (The one where you pay the annual fee and standard co-pays for each visit/procedure) unless you are in an area dense with military bases. Sometimes the reimbursment rates with the Prime option are considered too low and many local providers drop out.

The Standard option seems to be universally acceptable and I have had no problems with it. The deductable is almost too low and the annual out of pocket cap was lowered a couple yrs ago from $7500.00 to $3000.00. I think I can live with 3000 bucks a yr medical expenses and no policy premiums.

And when you become elgible for Medicare it turns into a medicare supplement. I think that was the whole point behind "Tricare for Life". As far as I know that "test program" was declared a success so it's on the books. But I am only 46 and dont bank on stuff tahts 20 yrs in the future. Your info is likley better than mine on that detail

If you opt to take your current employer's retiree medical plan then Tricare will not cover you as a primary payer anyway. They will only act as a suplemental insurance policy.
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Re:  Tricare works for us
Old 02-24-2004, 07:10 AM   #3
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Re:  Tricare works for us

I probably couldn't ER without it...

I'm retired, spouse is in the Reserves, and we have an 11-year-old. We're happily paying the $115/quarter for Tricare Retired and we don't have any other coverage. Spouse does healthcare during drills/AT but we occasionally use Tricare for emergencies.

I've never had a billing problem and our local benefits coordinator has proven to be a real pit bull with Tricare's home office as well as the local medical offices. I haven't had any trouble with reimbursement rates and I avoid the military bases whenever possible. OTOH I don't do much more than an annual exam and a flu shot.

I've watched my parents-in-law, in excellent health, get squeezed on health care for over a decade. They retired with premiums that have slowly crept up to over $150/mo, and they're considered to be in a GOOD plan. I don't think you could beat Tricare.

And unless you have dental issues (like peridontia), pay for dental exams on your own (no insurance). Tricare dental premiums are about four times my annual dental expenses, and that's not even counting the dentist's discount after he realizes that he can take cash without filing for reimbursement. (There's nothing more reassuring than a happy dentist.) We're even doing the kid's orthodontia out of pocket.

So, PaperSniper, it sounds like you could stick with the minimum corporate healthcare until age 60 and then move to Tricare. If you still subscribe to the Naval Reserve Association magazine or the Military Officers Association, both of those places will track the issues for you (including cost comparisons).


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Re: TriCare for Life?
Old 02-24-2004, 05:49 PM   #4
 
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Re: TriCare for Life?

I am AD and my family is very familar with Tricare. I have a son who had a heart transplant at 6 months of age over 5 yrs ago. Needless to say most of our care is in the civilian network with the exception of a pediatrician. Our experience has been excellent and he is doing great.

From talking to my peers who left prior to retirement insurance is something they worry about. We plan on using TriCare as our insurance when I retire in a few years. And we plan to retire retire. We are enrolled in prime and even the first year of my son's life and over 100 Drs visits we never hit the $1000 out of pocket cap. I have always said the the admin burden gets to great We will go to Standard and proceed that way.

JDW
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Re: TriCare for Life?
Old 02-26-2004, 01:57 PM   #5
Confused about dryer sheets
 
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Re: TriCare for Life?

I use Tricare Prime and it works great, and has minimal out of pocket, but I'm in an area with military clinics closeby. Before this, I used Tricare Standard for a while and had problems with the amount of paperwork I had to do, and the extra payments I had to make for charges that were above what Tricare considered reasonable. I contested some of those, and the doctors usually accepted the Tricare amount, but I fewer doctors are accepting Tricare, probably for that reason. That probably varies from region to region.
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Re: TriCare for Life?
Old 03-05-2004, 11:14 AM   #6
Confused about dryer sheets
 
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Re: TriCare for Life?

Thanks for all the posts. Here's my plan for now: when I retire at age 57.5 this year, use my current/former employer's health insurance until age 60. At that point, I plan to drop the company plan, as it REALLY is loosing its value seems like every month. I'd switch to Tricare NOW if I could! <g>

Thanks again for the valuable information. My wife and are are lucky that we live only minutes from Millington, TN which is where BUPERS was moved a few years ago. I suspect there will be decent drugs and care there for some time.
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