Nov 29 2012
(Washington, D.C.) – Today the Senate adopted U.S. Senator Dean Heller’s (R-NV) amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act (S. 3254). In an effort to protect Nevada veterans, Heller’s amendment seeks clarification on news reports that have indicated the termination of TRICARE Prime health coverage. This termination would affect many military retirees and their families in Northern Nevada. Heller released the following statement:
“Nevada veterans deserve answers from the Department of Defense on any healthcare changes and those changes should be justified. Keeping the promises made to those who have bravely served our nation must be a top priority for Congress. After everything our veterans have done for us, the least we can do is make sure they are afforded the very best treatment our country can provide. We owe a debt of gratitude to these heroes and I am pleased my amendment was included in the Defense Authorization Act,” said Senator Heller.
News reports have indicated that the Department of Defense does not plan on providing TRICARE Prime services. This action will cause more out-of-pocket expenses and longer drive times for many military families and veterans throughout Northern Nevada. Senator Heller’s amendment would require the Department of Defense to issue a report to the Senate and House Armed Services committees within 120 days. That report must:
- Identify areas where TRICARE Prime will no longer be available.
- Describe transition and outreach plans for beneficiaries who no longer have access to the TRICARE Prime benefits.
- Include the estimated increase in out of pocket expenses to affected beneficiaries.
- Include the estimated savings to the Department as a result of such changes.
- Describe how the Department will continue to assess the impact on access to care for beneficiaries who can no longer access the PRIME benefit.
- Provide a report on the effects of potential cuts to TRICARE Prime for these families.
In October, Senator Heller sent a letter to Assistant Secretary of Defense Dr. Jonathan Woodson regarding the reported termination of TRICARE Prime health coverage for military retirees and their families in Northern Nevada. However, an explanation was not provided.