FRA NewsBytes September 11 2015

FRA Newsbytes 09/11/2015

FRA Newsbytes 09/11/2015

In this issue:
Beware of TRICARE Mail Scam
Annual TRICARE Enrollment Fee Adjustment
Military Families need to give DEERS Social Security Numbers or Pay IRS Fine
911 Anniversary

Beware of TRICARE Mail Scam
The Defense Health Agency (DHA) has issued an alert to TRICARE beneficiaries about an intricate mail scam from “Tricare Survey Inc.”, a counterfeit business offering them a chance to be “secret shoppers.” The letter asks TRICARE beneficiaries to cash enclosed checks for $3,775 at their banks, keep a percentage of the money for themselves and use the rest to buy six $500 shopping cards to be used at retail stores for “secret shopping” excursions. But when beneficiaries report the card numbers to the company, as instructed in the letters, the fraudsters use the numbers to transfer the amount to their own accounts. In the DHA alert, it states that “Tricare will identify the checks as counterfeit… and return them to the bank from which they were drawn as non-cashable. Potential exists for the beneficiary to be personally liable for the entire $3775.00.”
Annual TRICARE Enrollment Fee Adjustment
Beginning October 1, 2015, some TRICARE beneficiaries will see a small increase in their enrollment fees as part of the annual adjustment. The yearly increase is based on the annual cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) for retired military pay.

TRICARE Prime beneficiaries with single coverage will pay $4.68 more for their annual enrollment fee in fiscal 2016—the current fee will increase from $277.92 to $282.60. Those who have family coverage will see an annual increase of $9.36, from the current fee of $555.84 to $565.20 in fiscal 2016.

Currently-serving military and their dependents do not pay for health care under TRICARE Prime. Surviving family members of those who died on active duty, and medically-retired service members and their dependents are exempt from enrollment fee increases. TRICARE for Life (TFL) beneficiaries also do not pay annual enrollment fees.
Military Families need to give DEERS Social Security Numbers or Pay IRS Fine
Since August 13, the Defense Enrollment Eligibility Reporting System (DEERS) has been notifying more than 430,000 service members that DEERS needs their Social Security numbers and those of their dependents by January 1, 2016, or they will be subject to paying fines to the Internal Revenue System (IRS).

The Defense Department (DoD) is required to report healthcare coverage given to service members and their dependents as part of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) beginning this year. But in order to do so, the letter said, they need to have each dependent’s SSN verified in the system.

The notification letter states: “The IRS will collect fees from individuals who don’t have minimum essential coverage… status [is] based on DEERS records.” Social Security numbers are not required for DEERS registration. For example, military child dependents often do not have their Social Security numbers in DEERS because their parents register them in the system as infants before the card is issued. Parents must return to DEERS later with the Social Security number to update the system—a chore that is frequently ignored.
911 Anniversary
Today marks the 14th anniversary of the 2001 attacks on the United States. The coordinated suicide attack on 9/11/2001 was launched by a terrorist organization with no real military objective, and hit our nation’s largest city and our capital. The only goal was to kill as many Americans as possible. We should take time today to remember those ordinary citizens and first responders who rose to the challenge and responded with extraordinary acts of courage, and also pay tribute to the men and women in uniform fighting terrorism around the world.