FRA Newsbytes – 08/23/13

fra_logo_tr-c6-opt1In this week’s edition:
FRA Addresses SecNav Retiree Council
Bill to Fund Coast Guard Museum Operating Expenses is Introduced
TRICARE Retiree Dental Program Changes
TAP Reorganized
FRA Addresses SecNav Retiree Council
The Secretary of the Navy Retiree Council met this week at the Washington Navy Yard and NED Joe Barnes briefed the panel on current legislative issues associated with retiree benefits. He summarized major challenges impacting the military retiree community and on-going threats to earned benefits. These include the possibility of additional sequestration budget cuts in 2014 and beyond, the recently appointed Military Compensation and Retirement Modernization Commission established by the 2013 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), and the recently announced “10-15-55 Plan” by the U.S. Army War College Strategic Studies Institute that, if approved, would significantly change current retirement benefits. (See 8/16/2013 Newsbytes for details.)

The Retiree Council is co-chaired by MCPON-8 John Hagan and USMC retired LtGen Ron Coleman, and meets annually to consider issues of importance to retired Navy and Marine Corps personnel and their families. The council is organized into four committees and submits a report on their findings/recommendations to the Secretary of the Navy. FRA has provided legislative updates to the Council for many years.

Bill to Fund Coast Guard Museum Operating Expenses is Introduced
Rep. Joe Courtney (Conn.), co-chairman of the Coast Guard Caucus, has introduced the “United States Coast Guard Commemorative Coin Act” (H.R. 2932) that would honor the men and women of the Coast Guard and support the establishment of the National Coast Guard Museum. Despite its significant role in our national defense, the U.S. Coast Guard is the only uniformed service without a national museum to showcase its 223-year history.

In 2004, legislation was passed authorizing the National Coast Guard Museum to be located in New London, Connecticut. Construction is scheduled to begin in 2014 and the museum is scheduled to open in 2017. This bipartisan bill would honor all those who have served in the Coast Guard by the minting of a special commemorative coin and proceeds from sales would be used to support the development and operation of the museum via the National Coast Guard Museum Association, a nonprofit organization dedicated to supporting the facility and to expanding awareness of the important history, service and missions of the Coast Guard.

Members are urged to use the FRA Action Center to ask their Representative to support this legislation. To contact your U.S. Representative go to:
http://www.capwiz.com/fra/issues/alert/?alertid=62819246

TRICARE Retiree Dental Program Changes
Effective October 1, 2013, all TRICARE Retiree Dental Program (TRDP) beneficiaries will be required to pay their monthly premiums by an Electronic Funds Transfer (EFT) or through military retired pay allotment.  The ability to pay premiums by check or through an online bill pay system will end in September.

Most TRDP enrollees will need to take no action; however, Delta Dental sent letters to all TRDP participants on July 19 with information on where to submit EFT authorization forms and how to submit an EFT authorization online at www.trdp.org.

Delta Dental of California will continue managing the TRICARE Retiree Dental Program through 2018. As a result of this continued relationship, TRDP enhanced the program and overseas participants can look forward to several changes effective January 1, 2014.

  •    An increase in the annual maximum amount for each person enrolled, to $1,300
  •    Coverage year will run from January 1 through December 31
  •    Maximums and deductibles will restart every January 1
  •    An increase in the annual maximum amount for dental accident coverage for each person enrolled, to $1,200
  •    An increase in the lifetime orthodontic maximum amount for each person enrolled, to $1,750
  •    A third cleaning allowed for children and adults with documented Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes
  •    A decrease in monthly premiums

    TDRP basic participants can also look forward to a lower premium.

    Current dental enrollment cards will remain valid under the new contract; however, verification of TRDP eligibility and enrollment will be managed by Defense Eligibility Enrollment System (DEERS).

    TRICARE Retiree Dental Program is voluntary, premium based coverage. To get more information about this benefit, visit http://www.tricare.mil/trdp.

    TAP Reorganized
    The FRA-supported VOW to Hire Heroes Act of 2011 requires a major renovation of the military Transition Assistance Program (TAP). The program has been redesigned into a comprehensive, mandatory program for separating/retiring service members through the efforts of an interagency team from the Departments of Defense (DoD), Veterans Affairs (VA), Labor (DOL), Education (DoE), Homeland Security (DHS), plus the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) and the Small Business Administration (SBA). The redesigned TAP is known as Transition Goals Plans Success (GPS) or Transition GPS is currently a pilot program that began at a few DoD installations last year and is expected to replace the old TAP by the end of 2013.