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Military plans health insurance premium increase for retirees Posted: January 17th, 2011

By Maryalene LaPonsie

For the first time in its 15-year history, the TRICARE Prime health plan will see a premium increase in fiscal 2012. The TRICARE Prime plan is available to military retirees, and the premium increase will only apply to those who are still of working age, according to an American Forces Press Service report.

Gates speaks out

In announcing the planned increase, which was described only as "modest,'' Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates told reporters, "many of these beneficiaries are employed full-time while receiving their full pensions, and often forego their employers' health plan to remain with TRICARE." Veterans are not required to notify the military if they have access to health insurance through their current employer.

2 TRICARE options

Upon retirement, military personnel are enrolled in one of two military health insurance plans: TRICARE Prime or TRICARE Standard. The enrollment fee for TRICARE Prime, a managed care plan, has been set at $230 for individuals and $460 for families since 1995. The Standard option is a traditional fee-for-service plan and does not have an enrollment fee. However, it does require participants to meet deductibles of $150 per person and $300 per family. Federal workers pay about $5,000 annually for similar coverage, Gates said.

Only retirees impacted

While enrollment fees for working-age retirees will rise, Department of Defense officials stress that health insurance will remain free for active service members.