Veterans

January 25, 2013

TRICARE, DFAS addressed in this month’s column

Michael Roberts
Fort Huachuca Retiree Council

Retiree Appreciation Day

On behalf of the Retiree Council and all retirees who attended the Retiree Appreciation Day on Jan. 12, thank you to Rosalie Monge, Tina Moody and the entire Retirement Services Office staff that made the event a huge success. The entire team, to include the Thunder Mountain Activity Centre staff, is to be commended for a superb event. Thank you!

New copays for TRICARE pharmacy customers

New copayments for prescription drugs covered by TRICARE will go into effect soon. The fiscal [year] 2013 National Defense Authorization Act requires TRICARE to increase copays on brand name and non-formulary medications that are not filled at military clinics or hospitals.  There is no increase to copays for generic medications.  Increases will be effective sometime in February, depending on when system changes can be made, and the publication of a required federal notice.

TRICARE Pharmacy copays vary, based on the class of drug and where beneficiaries choose to fill their prescriptions. The copay for generic medications stays at $5 when a prescription is filled at a network pharmacy.  There is no co-pay when generic prescriptions are filled through TRICARE Home Delivery.  The new copay for a 30-day supply of a brand name medication purchased at a retail network pharmacy will be $17, up from the current $12. Beneficiaries using TRICARE Home Delivery will pay $13 for brand name drugs, up from $9. However, the home delivery price is for a 90-day supply. 

The greatest change in copays applies to non-formulary medications. The $25 copay for these drugs increases to $44 at retail pharmacies and $43 through home delivery. The TRICARE Uniform Formulary is a list of all the medications TRICARE covers.

For fiscal 2014 and beyond, the new law directs that copays increase annually by the same percentage as retiree cost-of-living adjustments. In years when a COLA increase would total less than a dollar, it will be delayed a year and combined with the next adjustment so increases will always be $1 or more.

Pharmacies at military hospitals and clinics will continue to provide medications with no copays. Go to www.TRICARE.mil/costs for more details.

Treasury mandate — pay to go electronic by March 1

A Treasury mandate will soon require payment to military, civilian and retired customers by electronic funds transfer. Beginning March 1, most people who receive paper checks will receive their pay directly to savings or checking accounts. Get ahead of the rush by setting up direct deposit now. It’s easy, safe and gives users more control with less stress.

With direct deposit, payments are sent straight to individual bank accounts. It gives customers immediate access to their money the day payment is received. It also eliminates the risk of lost or stolen checks, forged signatures and identity theft.

About 99 percent of DFAS customers already receive their pay by direct deposit. They’re enjoying being paid on time without the risks of lost or misrouted mail. Direct deposit gives them the control they want over their personal finances while increasing their financial security.

For those customers with a myPay account, simply log into myPay and enter your bank routing and account numbers. DFAS will require about a week before pay is deposited in a checking or savings account.

Military retirees and annuitants without a myPay account can complete the Fast Start Direct Deposit form at http://www.fms.treas.gov/eft/2231.pdf and send it to DFAS, U.S. Military Retired Pay, P.O. Box 7130, London, KY 40742-7130.

Former spouses of military retirees should complete a Direct Deposit Authorization Form 1059, http://www.dfas.mil/dms/dfas/rapay/pdf/1059.pdf, and mail it to DFAS, Garnishment Operations, P.O. Box 998002, Cleveland, OH 44199-8002 if they do not have a myPay account.

Those needing additional assistance can call DFAS customer service at 1.800.321.1080 for retirees and annuitants, or 1.888.332.7411, for military and civilian employees.

Advantages of Direct Deposit

Every year, DFAS spends over $2 million dollars printing and mailing checks to the 1 percent of military members, retirees, Department of Defense civilian employees and contractors who haven’t yet made the switch. Each check costs $1.04 while each electronic payment only costs eight cents.  During these difficult economic times, this money could be put to use directly supporting America’s service men and women.

Don’t wait for March 1; make the switch today!




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