"Latest Update from National Headquarters"
October 20, 2017
New TRICARE Rules May
According to the Defense Health Agency (DHA) some TRICARE beneficiaries under age 65 may see their TRICARE fees increased when DHA implements substantial changes that were mandated by last year's (FY2017) National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). The NDAA provided a grandfather clause that would exclude retirees who retired before January 1, 2018 from scheduled TRICARE fee increases. This grandfather clause was intended to shield current retirees from any fee increases. With the implementation of enacted changes through an Interim Final Rule (IFR), the DHA will charge current retirees more in co-pays. The IFR, recently released by DHA, actually allows lower co-pays for new retirees when compared to current retirees. FRA will be working with other Military Coalition (TMC) members during the comment period to get clarification on this IFR change.
Are You Ready for TRICARE Payment Changes?
Effective January 1, 2018, TRICARE will implement new regions and new contractors. Beneficiaries may need to update their payment options to guarantee continued payment of their TRICARE enrollment fees and monthly premiums. Also, beneficiaries will no longer be able to make payments by paper check. Acceptable methods of payment will continue to be allotment, electronic funds transfer and debit or credit cards. Another acceptable method is to sign into your regional contractor's website to make online payments.
Beneficiaries who currently pay enrollment fees or premiums by allotment through a Defense Financing and Accounting Service (DFAS) or other Uniformed Services Pay Center, will NOT need to update their payment information. Payments will automatically transfer to the new regional contractor on January 1, 2018. Unless a beneficiary cancels their allotment, TRICARE will continue to deduct enrollment fees and premiums.
If beneficiaries reside in an area where a NEW regional contractor is delivering services, they need to update their payment information so it goes to the new regional contractor. This applies if a beneficiary currently pays enrollment fees or premiums by electronic funds transfer from their checking or savings account, debit card or credit card. The new regional contractor will contact beneficiaries with instructions on how to update their payment information.
TRICARE has sent out notice that beneficiaries must proactively update their payment information to make sure payments start going to the new regional contactor, NOT to the old regional contractor. This action will help avoid TRICARE disenrollment.
Are you ready for the upcoming TRICARE changes? The best way to prepare is to update your information in DEERS, sign up for TRICARE benefit updates and visit https://tricare.mil/changes
SVAC Holds Hearing on Suicide Prevention
VA Secretary Dr. Robert Shulkin recently testified before the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee about suicide prevention and the VA's "#BeThere" campaign. The new campaign encourages veterans and their families to reach out and offer support to someone who may be struggling with mental health conditions. During the hearing, Secretary Shulkin declared the VA wants to hire 1,000 additional mental health professionals to ensure veterans have timely access to mental health care. Shulkin identified the VA's long hiring process and bureaucratic human resources requirements as barriers to hiring more high-quality mental health care professionals.
NED Talks to Student Veterans at Memphis University
Recently, NED Tom Snee traveled to the Veterans Service Center at the University of Memphis for a Town Hall style forum. The dean of students, Director of Veteran Services Marcallinas James (a retired Navy veteran) and NED Snee met with more than 65 veterans currently attending the university.
Some of the topics covered were the Post-9/11 GI Bill, CHOICE Card, VETs card, online shopping, VA Medical access and the TAPs Program. Snee took the opportunity to share with the students what the FRA is and some of the key services we provide.
Some of the concerns the student veterans had were about tuition costs, housing, book fees and other mandatory fees not always covered by the GI Bill. He went on to talk about the importance of cutting some of the red tape student veterans experience, in general, and strive to have a system that is more transparent to enrolled veterans.
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"National Headquarters Staff Listing"
1 National Executive Director - Thomas J. Snee: [email protected], ext. 101
2 Finance Officer - Nora Graham: [email protected], ext. 102
3 Accounting - Misrak A. Zeleke, Senior Accountant: [email protected], ext. 114
4 Administration - Teresa Wiener, Director: [email protected], ext. 103
5 Call Program Rep- Amanda Boehm: [email protected],ext 112
6 Communications & Marketing - William D. Stevenson, Director: [email protected], ext. 126
7 Database Manager - Sameer N Mulla: [email protected], 109
8 IT Operations - Sami A Alsamawi, Manager: [email protected], ext. 119
9 Legislative Programs - John Davis, Director: [email protected], ext. 110
10 Stephen M. Tassin, Assistant Legislative Director: [email protected], ext. 113
11 Brian Condon, Assistant Legislative Director: [email protected], ext. 127
12 Bob Washington, Legislative Program Healthcare Advisor: [email protected], ext. 125
13 Communications & Marketing - Victoria Duran, Manager: [email protected], ext. 124
14 Member Services - Shirley Moore, Manager: [email protected], ext. 120
15 Veterans' Services Director - Chris Slawinski, VSO: [email protected], ext. 115
17 Member Services, [email protected], (800) FRA-1924
To order items for sale (membership pins, etc):
18 Donna Simms: [email protected], ext. 117
19 Mail Services - Jimmy Short: [email protected], ext. 116
Send questions and comments to [email protected] or call (800) FRA-1924.