PEOPLE FIRST November 13, 2015

Securing future by bending cost curve

Bending the Cost Curve, one of the 13 Make Every Dollar Count cost initiatives launched by the Air Force, includes a growing and evolving set of more than 20 acquisition reform activities. These activities are focused on finding ways the Air Force can be more effective at how it spends money to get better capabilities to the warfighter faster.

One program, Open Systems Acquisition, has reached a level of success. The concept is to move Air Force weapons systems toward a more open architecture, allowing traditional and non-traditional industry partners more flexibility for future improvements.

As part of this program, the Air Force Research Laboratory created its own acquisition vehicle tailored to the new OSA model. With this new system, it will take only three weeks from the time companies demonstrate their capabilities to the time the winner is funded and doing work.

Thinking outside of the box and in the spirit of innovation, the Air Force launched the largest cash prizes ever conducted by one of the military services called Air Force Prize — worth $2 million to the entity that can produce a lightweight, mid-sized turbine engine.

Time for TRICARE open enrollment

It’s time for open enrollment; the time of year when people can enroll in or change their health insurance plan. The open enrollment period for is Nov. 1 to Jan. 31 for 2016 coverage.

How does this affect you? Most TRICARE beneficiaries don’t need to worry about open enrollment. However, for beneficiaries who are not eligible for TRICARE coverage, have lost or are losing coverage, or may qualify to purchase a TRICARE premium-based health plan you can utilize this open enrollment period to see if there are other health coverage options that work best for you and your family.

If you want to explore your local coverage options outside of TRICARE, go to You can find out if you qualify for financial assistance and review coverage plans offered in your area without having to submit an application. Just indicate that you don’t currently have coverage when using the portal.

When using the portal, go to the “Individual and Families” tab on, and click the “Get Coverage” tab.

Warrior care month

TRICARE is a health care program for uniformed service members, National Guard and Reserve members, retirees, survivors and their families around the world. We ensure our beneficiaries receive care that is proven both safe and effective. This month, make time to learn about all the health care benefits, programs and resources available to our service members and their families.

Active-duty service members mainly receive their primary care at military hospitals and clinics. If stationed in a remote location, active-duty service members may receive primary care with a civilian network provider. If you are injured on active duty, there are additional programs and resources as well as special benefits like respite care for primary caregivers of injured service members.

National Guard and Reserve members who are on active duty for more than 30 days receive the same benefits as an active-duty service member. While serving on active duty for 30 days or less for active-duty training, an annual tour, individual duty training or drill and you are injured or become severely ill in the line of duty, your unit must issue a Line of Duty determination.

TRICARE young adult premiums to increase

Premiums for the Military Health System’s benefit plan for adult children between 21 and 26 years old have been announced. The premiums for TRICARE Young Adult program will increase on Jan. 1 to $306 per month for TYA Prime, and $228 per month for TYA Standard.

“Offering the option to have young adults covered under these plans falls in line with what all Americans are able to do with their adult children under the Affordable Care Act,” said Mary Kaye Justis, the director of the TRICARE Health Plan. “We want to make sure those wanting this coverage know all the facts as they go into the open enrollment season for health care plans in this country.”

Justis explained the increase is due to the requirement in the National Defense Authorization Act of 2011 that TRICARE set TYA premiums to cover the full cost of health care received by the program’s beneficiaries. Previous years’ premiums were lower because TRICARE did not yet have sufficient cost data to set annual premiums.

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