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MISSION CRITICAL Legislative news you need to know.


Final Text of FY 2018 National Defense Authorization Act Released


rization Act (NDAA) is complete, and the outcome validates the extensive efforts put forward by MOAA and our coalition part- ners to support the currently serving force. The final legislation recog-


T


nizes the strain on the all-vol- unteer force by increasing troop strength above the presi- dent’s request by the following amounts: 7,500 in the active duty Army, 1,000 in the active duty Marine Corps, 500 in the Amy Reserve, and 500 in the Army National Guard. The defense policy legis-


lation also authorizes a full 2.4-percent pay raise for mem- bers of the armed forces, in line with the statutory baseline, the Employment Cost Index (ECI) rate. As you might recall, MOAA championed the full pay raise rather than the 2.1-per- cent pay raise proposed in the president’s budget. While this raise matches the ECI, as it did last year, we still have a lingering, cumulative gap of 2.6 percent from previous years as compared to the private sector. Beneficiaries will see steady


increases in their TRICARE cost shares over the next 12 years. According to estimates, these increases will save DoD more


he House and Senate con- ference on the FY 2018 National Defense Autho-


For the second year in a row, MOAA successfully advocated on behalf of all those who currently serve to leave housing allowances intact. The Senate’s proposal to cut the with- dependent rate for dual-military couples with children would have been a significant financial hit to those families. We will remain vigilant, knowing these allowances have become a favored target for budgeteers.


than $2.1 billion by the year 2022. Most of the increases will be through retail pharmacy co- payments, but new fees will be introduced to include mail-order prescriptions as well. The disclo- sure in the Senate’s conference report highlights indicates these copayments would generate discretionary savings to fund im- provements in military readiness and health care.


Beneficiaries still can obtain their medications at military pharmacies for free. That will change as early as 2018; all med- ications (except those obtained at a military treatment facility) now will require beneficiaries to pay a fee. We do not yet have the projected fee structure, but the bill submitted by the Senate pro- vides an idea of what those fees could be. For example, medications


obtained through TRICARE’s home-delivery program were targeted to be $7 for a 90-day supply of generic medication and $28 for a 90-day supply of a brand-name medication. Generic medications re-


ceived at in-network retail pharmacies would cost $11 for a 30-day supply, but the cost of brand-name drugs would in- crease to $28.


The cost of medications for


TRICARE beneficiaries will continue to increase between


now and the year 2026. Costs are projected to top off with fees for a 30-day supply of a generic med- ication at a retail pharmacy and a 90-day supply by mail reaching $14. A 30-day supply of a non-ge- neric medication at a retail phar- macy will be $48, and a 90-day supply by mail will hit $44. Here’s what military families should know: Legislation has changed to


allow hospice care for benefi- ciaries under age 21. Medicare, designed for adults over age 65, prohibits reimbursement for hospice services if a ben- eficiary continues to receive curative care for the same ill- ness. Parity between Medicare and TRICARE means the rule also applies to children using TRICARE. Growth and develop- ment in children make it difficult to provide a health prognosis when facing a terminal illness. The choice to terminate treat- ment in order to access hospice care can dramatically reduce


INSIDE


17 18


Could DoD Nominee Change GI Bill


Transferability?


Smaller Active Duty Force Means


Dependence on Guard and Reserve


January 2018 | MILITARY OFFICER | 15


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