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Rubio Joins Colleagues To Curb Tricare Fee Increase

Nov 28, 2012 | Press Releases

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL), along with Senators Jack Reed (D-RI) and Claire McCaskill (D-MO) today introduced an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) that would tie TRICARE fee increases to the cost of living adjustments for TRICARE beneficiaries. The amendment aims to protect military beneficiaries from excessive out-of-pocket increases in their co-payments. 
“It’s vital that Congress take action to curb the dramatic and unreasonable out-of-pocket prescription drug costs proposed for TRICARE beneficiaries,” said Rubio. “The Defense Department’s proposed increase to prescription drug co-payments would create an unacceptable burden on many military men and women and their families.” 

“While ensuring the fiscal soundness of TRICARE is critical, we should not create a financial burden on the men and women of our military in order to shore up the program,” added Rubio. “The amendment Senators Reed, McCaskill and I have proposed will ensure that beneficiaries are protected from excessive out-of-pocket increases while also addressing the fiscal solvency of the TRICARE program.”
Last year, the Department of Defense included in its budget a proposal to dramatically increase prescription drug co-payments for Tricare beneficiaries. The Reed-Rubio-McCaskill amendment would curb the out-of-pocket prescription drug costs proposed for Tricare beneficiaries. Furthermore, the Department of Defense would be prohibited from instituting dramatic increases in prescription drug copayments in future years.  Copayments could only increase at the rate of the annual cost-of-living adjustment (COLA).
To protect beneficiaries from out-of-pocket increases, the amendment proposes to achieve the necessary savings by requiring the Secretary to enroll beneficiaries age 65 and older with maintenance medication – that is, medications for chronic conditions – in a 5-year mail-order pharmacy pilot program. Beneficiaries would be eligible to opt-out of the mail-order program after one year if they felt it did not adequately meet their needs.

This amendment is supported by The Military Coalition, a group of 30 organizations representing more than 5.5 million members of the uniform services—active, reserve, retired, survivors, veterans—and their families.