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Defense Dept.’s Veteran Care Solution: Quadruple Member Costs

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Aired 4/19/09

As the military faces heat for its care of veterans, the Defense Department is proposing fee increases for its TRICARE health benefit plan. Some nine million active and retired military could be affected. KPBS reporter Kenny Goldberg has the story.

The Defense Department says it hasn't raised TRICARE fees since 1995. But now the department says it needs to for the program's long-term stability. It's proposing increases that would nearly quadruple costs for service members and their families. TRICARE members could see their fees go from $460 to $1,400 dollars a year. Pharmacy co-pays would be hiked 67 percent.

A national group of retired and active military called the Fleet Reserve Association is slamming the idea. A local spokesman says the Defense Department should consider other options, like phasing in the increases over a period of years. A bill has been introduced in the U.S. Senate that would block the proposed TRICARE fee hikes. Kenny Goldberg, KPBS News.

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