[afsachapter254] Fw: NAUS Weekly Update for September 23, 2011

  • From: "Joe Allen" <joechiney@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: "DICK DIXON" <dixonr2@xxxxxxxxxxx>, "Ft-Meade AFSA" <afsa.254@xxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Fri, 23 Sep 2011 18:06:20 -0400

NAUS Weekly Update for September 23, 2011
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From: NAUS Weekly Update 
To: Joechiney@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx 
Sent: Friday, September 23, 2011 2:11 PM
Subject: NAUS Weekly Update for September 23, 2011

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                  National Association 
                  for Uniformed Services® 
           Weekly Update 
                            September 23, 2011
      Send this NAUS Weekly Update to a friend! 
                        "Be as committed to military men and women as military 
men and women are committed to our country." 

                        ~ Sen. Lamar Alexander ~


                              WASHINGTON REPORT

                              Another TRICARE Change Proposal

                              As part of the President's Plan for Economic 
Growth and Deficit Reduction, introduced this week, military retirees would pay 
an annual fee for TRICARE-for-Life health insurance and TRICARE pharmacy 
co-payments would be restructured. 

                              The plan includes shifting $6.7 billion over 10 
years to beneficiaries by establishing "modest annual fees" for members of 
TRICARE-for-Life (TFL).  The change would start with a $200 annual fee in 
fiscal 2013.  

                              The plan would also shift $15.1 billion onto the 
backs of uniformed services retirees in mandatory funds and $5.5 billion in 
discretionary funds over 10 years by restructuring co-payments for TRICARE 
pharmacy benefits.

                              According to the proposal, the President's plan 
would bring TRICARE "more in line with private and other federal plans."  It 
would eliminate co-pays for generic mail-order drugs and change retail co-pays 
to a percentage co-pay from a dollar amount.  The change would apply to 
military families and retirees, but not active-duty service members.  

                              NAUS has consistently held the line on any 
increases in TRICARE premiums, co-pays or pharmacy increases.  We were caught 
off guard with these newest proposals.  Maybe President Obama forgot what he 
said in a speech on August 30:

                              "The United States of America will keep our 
military the best-trained, the best-led, the best-equipped fighting force in 
history. It will continue to be the best.  Now, as today's wars end, as our 
troops come home, we're reminded once more of our responsibilities to all who 
have served. The bond between our forces and our citizens must be a sacred 
trust. And for me and my administration, upholding that trust is not just a 
matter of policy, it is not about politics; it is a moral obligation.  We 
cannot, and we must not, balance the budget on the backs of our veterans.  And 
as commander in chief, I won't allow it."

                              TRICARE versus Muffins

                              Meanwhile, an audit by the Justice Department 
this week revealed the government "spent $4,200 on 250 muffins and $2,880 on 
300 cookies and brownies" for a legal training conference.  "By itemizing these 
costs," the report said, "we determined that, with service and gratuity, 
muffins cost over $16 each and cookies and brownies cost almost $10 each."

                              While DOJ conferees munch on $16 muffins and $10 
cookies, the White House said TRICARE beneficiaries should pay a more for their 
earned benefits.  See details of administration proposal to balance the budget 
on the backs of veterans in above article.

                              Panetta Testimony

                              In Thursday testimony before the Senate Armed 
Services Committee, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta vowed that he will not 
preside over deep Pentagon budget cuts that "hollow out" the military's combat 

                              If the special congressional deficit panel fails 
to agree on $1.5 trillion in federal spending cuts by Thanksgiving, the 
Pentagon and other security agencies would face around $600 billion in 
automatic cuts.  

                              If the $600 billion trigger is enacted by a Super 
Committee failure, it "guarantees that we will hollow out the force," said 

                              The secretary said," I'm also going to look at 
the compensation area . health care alone in the military costs some $52 
(billion), $53 billion."  "We cannot undermine the commitments we have made to 
them.  Nevertheless, we do have to look at reforms in these areas." 

                              OMB Letter

                              In a letter to House Armed Services and Budget 
Committee leaders on Wednesday, Office of Management and Budget Director Jacob 
Lew echoed Secretary Panetta's worry about the possibility of severe reductions 
in defense spending.  Across-the-board cuts in the magnitude of $600 billion, 
the OMB Director wrote, "would almost certainly be forced to furlough large 
numbers of its civilian workers, training would have to be curtailed, the force 
reduced and purchases of weapons would have to be cut dramatically." 

                              Congress Continues Business as Usual

                              The House and Senate are attempting to pass a 
Continuing Resolution (CR) to fund the government beyond the start of the new 
fiscal year on Oct. 1, through mid November.  

                              NAUS Note:  Once again Congress is playing 
"chicken" with the budget and members from both parties are threatening a 
government shutdown.  


                              Welcome to the NAUS Weekly Update.  Please send 
any feedback, corrections or tips to naus@xxxxxxxxx  You can join us at 


                              VA Friendly Legislation

                              On Tuesday, the House passed H.R. 2646, the 
Veterans Health Care Facilities Capital Improvement Act of 2011.  The bill 
authorizes major improvements of infrastructure and new facilities to be built 
at various VA locations around the country.  The Senate is expected to also 
shortly approve similar legislation in order for it to be presented to the 
President for his signature.

                              HEALTH CARE NEWS

                              TRICARE Drug Cost Changes

                              A reminder that generic formulary drugs purchased 
through Home Delivery currently cost $3 for a 90-day supply, but as of October 
1 the copayment drops to zero.  

                              The following changes to the TRICARE pharmacy 
copayments will also go into effect Oct. 1: 

                              . Generic formulary drugs purchased at retail 
pharmacies will go from $3 to $5.  
                              . Brand name formulary drugs from retail 
pharmacies will go from $9 to $12.  
                              . Non-formulary medications will go from $22 to 
$25 in both retail and Home Delivery.

                              Brand name formulary drugs purchased through Home 
Delivery will have the same $9 copayment.  Copayments for prescriptions filled 
through Home Delivery cover a 90-day supply, but only a 30-day supply when 
purchased at a retail pharmacy.  This is another way that TRICARE is steering 
beneficiaries away from retail outlets and into Home Delivery.

                              According to the TRICARE Management Activity 
(TMA), beneficiaries, including military, their families and retirees, are 
increasingly using Home Delivery for mail delivery of maintenance medications, 
saving TRICARE beneficiaries and TMA about $30 million in 2010.  More than 1 
million prescriptions per month are filled through the Home Delivery service.

                              With increases in local pharmacies co-pays and 
reductions in Home Delivery costs, it is obvious that TRICARE would rather have 
us use Home Delivery for our prescription service.  NAUS members should weigh 
the advantages of each process carefully before deciding which delivery option 
to use, home delivery or local pharmacy.    

                              Express Scripts vs. Walgreens

                              In an ongoing battle, Express Scripts has taken 
Walgreens to court for what it called a "campaign to disparage" the pharmacy 
benefits manager in an illegal attempt to wrest away customers. 

                              Express Scripts said, in a September 7 complaint 
filed in federal court in Chicago, that Walgreens is using false advertising to 
encourage Medicare patients to leave Express Scripts in violation of a contract 
that expires December 31.  Express Scripts said it will suffer "irreparable 
damage," unless the court issues an injunction stopping Walgreens action. 

                              Walgreens said in June that it wouldn't 
participate in the Express Scripts pharmacy network next year because 
negotiations had collapsed on renewing the contract worth more than $5 billion 
in annual drug sales.  A website sponsored by Walgreens says Medicare 
recipients who remain with Express Scripts won't be able to fill Part D 
prescriptions after Dec. 31. 

                              "This is false and highly misleading because 
nothing will prohibit Walgreens from continuing to fill valid prescriptions for 
such members after Dec. 31, 2011, even if Walgreens is not a part of the 
Express Scripts pharmacy network," Express Scripts said in the complaint. 

                              The current contract between Express Scripts and 
Walgreens calls for these types of disputes to be arbitrated.  The judge in the 
dispute ordered the two companies to begin arbitration to settle their 
differences and report back to him.  

                              TriWest Families Choose Paperless

                              Many beneficiaries with TriWest Healthcare 
Alliance, the contractor that manages the 21-state TRICARE West Region 
healthcare program, have chosen in droves to receive their healthcare 
statements in paperless form, surging past the 1 million mark in August.  
TriWest's "Go Green" program offers paperless options for referrals and 
authorizations, and fee statements.  For more information, visit the TriWest Go 
Green webpage.

                              ACTIVE DUTY NEWS

                              Navy Recruiting Targets Service's Needs

                              The U.S. Navy still needs new sailors in 
hard-to-fill rates to meet this year's recruiting goals. Prior service 
applicants are encouraged to consider other ratings in addition to the rating 
they held before leaving the Navy.  The greatest needs are in challenging 
career fields such as nuclear power, Navy diver, air rescue swimmers, explosive 
ordnance disposal and Navy SEALs.  For more information on joining (or 
rejoining) America's Navy, visit the U.S. Navy website at www.navy.com or talk 
with a local Navy recruiter.  To find a recruiter near you, visit the Navy 
Website and click on "Find a Recruiter." 

                              Google Offers Free Calls

                              Google announced that it is making it free for 
all active duty uniformed military personnel with a valid U.S. military (.mil) 
email address to call the United States, right from Gmail.  The free calls will 
be available through at least 2011.  For more information and to begin making 
free calls, visit the Google website. 

                              Air Force Wounded Warrior Child Care

                              Wounded warriors and the dependents of 
combat-fallen warriors now have priority placement privileges on childcare 
waiting lists for Air Force childcare programs.  This includes child 
development centers, family childcare homes and school-age programs. In order 
to receive priority placement, airmen must be enrolled in the Air Force Wounded 
Warrior Program.  The base casualty assistance representative can help with 
eligibility verification.  For families unable to access installations, 
community-based childcare subsidy assistance is available through the National 
Association of Resource and Referral Agencies website or by phone at 

                              VETERANS NEWS

                              Gulf War Claims Deadline

                              For Gulf War veterans with certain ailments like: 
Chronic fatigue syndrome; Fibromyalgia; Functional gastrointestinal disorders; 
and other undiagnosed illnesses the current deadline for when the condition 
must have "appeared" is on or before Dec. 31, 2011.  If you have any conditions 
that are "undiagnosed" and you did a tour in the Middle East, this could apply 
to you.  The VA is working to extend the deadline to Dec. 31, 2018.  If this 
occurs, it will be great news for veterans and military members who develop 
symptoms after the 2011 cut-off.  However, since there is no guarantee that the 
deadline will be extended veterans suffering from undiagnosed conditions are 
encouraged to talk with a Veteran Service Officer about filing a disability 
claim for these conditions. 

                              VA Expanding TSGLI Criteria

                              VA has announced it is extending retroactive 
traumatic injury benefits to service members who suffered qualifying injuries 
during the period Oct. 7, 2001, to Nov. 30, 2005, regardless of the geographic 
location where the injuries occurred.

                              Effective October 1, the Servicemembers' Group 
Life Insurance (SGLI) Traumatic Injury Protection benefit, known as TSGLI, will 
be payable for all qualifying injuries incurred during this period.  This 
retroactive benefit is payable whether or not the service member had SGLI 
coverage at the time of the injury. 

                              The Veterans' Benefits Improvement Act of 2010, 
passed by Congress and signed by President Obama October 2010, removes the 
requirement that injuries during this period be incurred in Operations Enduring 
or Iraqi Freedom (OEF/OIF). This is welcome news for the many Servicemembers 
who suffered serious traumatic injuries while serving stateside or in other 
areas outside of OEF/OIF during this time period, but until now have not been 
eligible for TSGLI. 

                              National Guard and Reserve members who were 
injured during the retroactive period and suffered a qualifying loss are also 
eligible for a TSGLI payment, even if the cause was not related to military 
service, such as a civilian automobile accident or severe injury which occurred 
while working around their home.  Those who are no longer in the National Guard 
or Reserves can also apply as long as their injury occurred while they were in 

                              VA is working with the Department of Defense to 
publicize this change in the TSGLI law.  Additionally, all of the branches of 
service are identifying any claims previously denied because the injury was not 
incurred in OEF/OIF and reaching out to those individuals.

                              Although applications are currently being 
accepted by branch of service TSGLI offices, benefits will not be paid until 
Oct. 1, 2011, the effective date of the law. 

                              For more information or to apply for a TSGLI 
payment, service members and veterans should go to the TSGLI Website or contact 
their branch of service TSGLI Office (contact information available at above 


                              DFAS September Newsletter

                              The latest Defense Finance and Accounting Service 
Retiree Newsletter is available here.  In it you will find more information on 
the change in paydays for retirees and how the extra pay for 2011 might impact 

                              New Address for NPRC

                              NAUS has been informed that there is a new 
address for the National Personnel Records Center:

                              National Personnel Records Center

                              1 Archives Drive

                              St Louis, MO  63138-1002

                              As a reminder, the preferred method of submitting 
a request to the National Personnel Records Center (NPRC) for your military 
records or copies of information in them is via the Internet.  Please note that 
in some cases using a browser other than Internet Explorer may create problems 
with data entry.  As you know, the NPRC provides copies of documents from 
military personnel records to authorized requesters.  Our web-based application 
will provide better service on these requests by eliminating our mailroom 
processing time.  Also, since the requester will be prompted to supply all 
information essential for us to process the request, delays that occur when we 
must go back for more information will be minimized.  You may access this 
application here.

                              This improved on-line request process should be 
used INSTEAD OF Standard Form 180 for requests from the veteran or the 
veteran's next of kin, if possible. Your assistance with this initiative will 
allow us, and you, to better serve the needs of our veterans.  If you do not 
wish to use the Internet, you should use Standard Form 180.  To get a copy of 
the form click here.

                              NAUS NEWS

                              NAUS on the Road

                              Fort Bliss, TX

                              On September 23-24, Chapter President Jim Scott, 
member Emiliano Gorgas and the El Paso Chapter present the Ft. Bliss, TX, RAD.

                              Ft. Belvoir, VA

                              On September 24, the Northern Virginia Chapter 
will set up a table at the Fort Belvoir, VA, RAD.  

                              Florida Chapter Drive

                              NAUS Southeast Regional Vice President Dennis 
Freytes will be joined by NAUS Deputy Legislative Director Mike Plumer and 
Director of Chapter Management Jack Chmielewski next week for Chapter 
Organization/Reorganization and membership drive meetings in Florida.

                              28 September (Wed.):  The Villages: 6 pm Laurel 
Manor Recreation Center: 1985 Laurel Manor Dr., The Villages, FL32162  (Only 
for Guests and Members of The Villages) Another meeting outside The Villages 
will be arranged shortly.  POC: BG (Ret.) John Sievertson (Retired Military 
Families Group), Email; jfsals@xxxxxxx ; 352-205-8894.

                              29 September (Thurs.): Orlando: 3 pm: Palmetto 
Building: 1040 Woodcock Road, Orlando, FL (New Location); Orlando (2): 6 pm:  
Assoc. Borinquena, 1865 N. Econlockhatchee Trail, Orlando, FL; (407) 380-8886, 
POC: Lou Soto, Email: lou@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx ; 407-843-2222, ext. 325.

                              30 September (Fri.): Palm Beach Area: 3 pm: 
Hurricane Alley Rest, 529 E. Ocean Ave., Boynton Beach, FL POC: John McCrane, 
jmc18@xxxxxxxxxxxxx ; 561-436-9385 (open Menu).

                              1 October (Sat.): Spring Hill: 12 pm: Silverthorn 
Club, 4550 Golf Club Lane, Spring Hill, FL,  POC: Dennis Foley,  Lunch: $12, 
RSVP 352-754-6160), peacock1973@xxxxxxx .

                              If you live near one of these places please join 
us and bring a friend.  Starting a chapter can begin with as few as 3-4 people. 
 Join us in fighting for your earned benefits.  For more information call 
Regional Vice President Dennis Freytes at 407-298-1151.  

                              SMW Convention

                              The Society of Military Widows will hold their 
2011 convention October 11-16 in Las Vegas, NV.  NAUS President Jack Klimp will 
address the ladies on Tuesday, the first day of the convention, and NAUS 
Chapter Manager Jack Chmielewski will conduct a workshop on Friday.  Harrah's 
Casino and Hotel will be the site of the all activities and rooms have been 
blocked for attendees.  

                              You can make reservations by calling toll-free 
1-888-458-8487.  Use the code SHSMW1 for the special SMW rate.  


                              Not a NAUS Member yet?  Join online. 

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                  Our Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, Marines and Coast Guardsmen 
stand in harm's way around the globe to defend our nation and our cherished 
liberties. NAUS asks you to please pray for their continued strength and 
protection-and pray as well for their families, who daily stand in support of 
their spouses, fathers and mothers, sons and daughters, and brothers and 

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