FRA NewsBytes November 20 2015

FRA Newsbytes 11/20/2015

FRA Newsbytes 11/20/2015

In this issue:
TRICARE Beneficiary Survey
FRA Provides Marine Legislative Fellow Training
DHA Wants Beneficiaries to be Aware of Diabetes Symptoms
Happy Thanksgiving!

TRICARE Beneficiary Survey
Congress created the Military Compensation and Retirement Modernization Commission (MCRMC) two years ago, and used one of its recommendations this year to drastically change military retirement for future generations. Defense officials must implement sweeping changes for those who join the military on and after January 1, 2018. Next year, congressional leaders have vowed to implement recommendation 6 of the MCRMC final report, which will radically change the military health system.

Unlike the retirement changes, the health care recommendation impacts current beneficiaries. The Military Officers Association of America (MOAA) is currently collecting data on this issue and has requested assistance in surveying all facets of military beneficiaries—Guard, Reserve, Active Duty, Families, Retirees, etc. Here is the link to their TRICARE survey: http://survey.highroadsolution.com/f/998692/8b25/. FRA will also be conducting a survey on health care in the months to come.

FRA Provides Marine Legislative Fellow Training
FRA staff this week gave a legislation process brief to the CY 2016 Marine Corps Fellows, 10 officers and four enlisted Marines, at FRA NHQ. The Marine Corps Congressional Fellowship Program offers participants the opportunity to work in the legislative branch of the federal government for one year. The program also provides education through the Government Affairs Institute at Georgetown University. FRA has provided both the Marine and Navy Legislative Fellows their legislative process brief in recent years. The Navy Fellows legislative process brief is scheduled for next week.

DHA Wants Beneficiaries to be Aware of Diabetes Symptoms
The Defense Health Agency (DHA) wants beneficiaries to learn how to reduce the risks of diabetes. Diabetes is a condition in which your body does not properly process food for use as energy. Your body turns most of the food you eat into glucose, or sugar, to use for energy. The pancreas, an organ near the stomach, makes a hormone called insulin that helps glucose get into our cells. When a person has diabetes, the body cannot make enough insulin, or does not effectively use the insulin it does make. This deficiency causes sugar to build up in your blood.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), diabetes can cause serious health complications including heart disease, blindness, kidney failure, and lower-extremity amputations. Diabetes is the seventh leading cause of death in the United States. CDC estimates that approximately 29 million people are living with diabetes in the United States. As a result of better treatments, people with diabetes are now living longer and enjoying a better quality of life than in the past. Research studies have found that moderate weight loss and exercise can actually prevent or delay type 2 diabetes in adults considered to be at high-risk for developing diabetes. The International Diabetes Federation (IDF) estimates that by 2040, over 640 million people may be living with diabetes.

People who think they might have diabetes must visit a physician for diagnosis. Common diabetes symptoms include:

  • Frequent urination,
  • Excessive thirst,
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Extreme hunger,
  • Sudden vision changes, and
  • Tingling or numbness in the hands or feet.

Unfortunately, some people may have no symptoms at all. For a complete list of symptoms and information on the types of diabetes, visit the CDC’s Basics About Diabetes web page at http://www.cdc.gov/diabetes/basics/diabetes.html.

TRICARE covers diabetic supplies through the pharmacy and medical benefits. Your doctor can perform screenings, answer your questions, explain what a diagnosis means and provide details about the best treatment for you. Visit the TRICARE website to learn more about coverage at: http://www.tricare.mil/CoveredServices/IsItCovered/DiabeticSupplies.aspx.

Happy Thanksgiving!
Please note that the FRA NHQ will be closed Wednesday, November 25 through Friday, November 27, and will re-open Monday, November 30. The next issue of NewsBytes will be issued Friday, December 4. The entire National Headquarters staff wishes everyone—especially service members serving in Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, and other duty assignments throughout the world—a safe and happy Thanksgiving.