We are pleased to share an update from our parent organization, the Military Officers Association of America, on our successes in the FY17 Defense Bill:
and Senate leaders resolved hundreds of differences between their
respective versions of the FY 2017 Defense Authorization Bill this week,
and followed MOAA's and The Military Coalition's recommendations on
most of them.
Here's a summary of selected outcomes.
Currently Serving Issues
raise: Approves a 2.1 percent 2017 military raise (matching the average
American's), rather than the 1.6 percent proposed by DoD.
- Force levels: increases for all services significantly above the Pentagon proposals.
Allowance: Rejects a Senate-proposed plan that would have cut
allowances by tens of thousands of dollars a year for dual-servicemember
couples and other military members who share housing.
Employment: Eliminates 2-year eligibility limitation (after PCS) for
noncompetitive appointment of military spouses to federal civilian
- Parental Leave: Authorizes up to 12 weeks of paid
leave (including 6 weeks medical recuperation leave) for primary
caregiver after childbirth; 21 days authorized for servicemember who is
the secondary caregiver.
Survivor Indemnity Allowance: Extends this allowance for SBP-DIC widows
through May 2018 at the current $310 monthly rate (this will give us an
opportunity to push Congress next year to increase and further extend
the allowance, or eliminate the offset in its entirety).
- SBP for
Reserve Components: Upgrades Survivor Benefit Plan formula for Reserve
Component members who die while on inactive duty for training to equal
SBP benefits for those who die on active duty.
TRICARE Benefits and Fees
will be no changes to TFL. The bill rejects the Pentagon proposal to
impose an annual TFL enrollment fee of up to 2 percent of military
- Rejects a DoD proposal to roughly double TRICARE pharmacy copays over 10 years.
- Imposes significantly increased fees and copays only for those who will enter service on or after January 1, 2018.
- Grandfathers currently serving and currently retired members and families against most increases.
current retirees and family members enrolled in TRICARE Standard (to be
renamed TRICARE Select) will pay a new enrollment fee of $150/$300
(single/family) per year, starting in 2020 (NOTE: Chapter 61 (medical)
retirees and survivors of members who died on active duty will be exempt
from this enrollment fee).
- Establishes a new requirement for
retired members and families (except TFL) to execute a formal annual
enrollment in either TRICARE Prime or TRICARE Select, starting in 2017
(IMPORTANT: this means they will have to physically sign a piece of
paper to enroll; enrollment will be required for TRICARE coverage).
a requirement to get pre-authorization for urgent care, and requires
all military medical facilities to maintain urgent care hours until 11
- Authorizes DoD to provide hearing aids to family members of retirees at DoD cost.
a pilot program of offering commercial insurance coverage to Reserve
component members and families on the same basis as federal civilians.
implementation of standard appointment system at all military
facilities no later than Jan. 1, 2018, including issuance of appointment
on first call and 24/7 online service availability.
retired members and families to participate in federal civilian dental
and vision plan (the current retiree dental program will go away).
- Restores provider payments for treatment of autism to higher rates that were in effect before April 2016.
Military Health Care Reform
all military hospitals and clinics under the authority of the Defense
Health Agency for purposes of budgeting, health care policy, and health
- Requires pilot program of value-based care,
which would reimburse providers at higher rate for providing
top-quality care and reduce or eliminate copays for high-value
medications and medical services.
- Requires new TRICARE contracts
to improve beneficiary access, improve medical outcomes, improve
quality of care, enhance beneficiary experiences, and reduce DoD health
- By mid-2017, incorporate into annual performance
review of all military and civilian health care leaders' measures of
accountability for patient access to care, quality of care, improvement
in health care outcomes, and patient safety.
- By January 2018,
implement productivity standards (e.g., patients seen per day) for all
providers in military treatment facilities (this is intended to improve
patient access to timely care).
a provision aimed at ensuring fair treatment for California Guardsmen
who have been targeted for recoupment of incentive bonuses paid to them
10 years ago.
- Rejected the Senate's proposal mandating female
Selective Service registration, and instead included a requirement to
review the continuing need for Selective Service System registration and
the potential for a national service program.
- Requires a DoD report on travel costs incurred by Reserve Component members.
House lawmakers approved the bill 375 to 34. The Senate is expected to vote on the bill early next week.
are indications the Pentagon may recommend the president veto the bill
because of its use of operational contingency funds to pay for force
level increases and an extra .5 percent pay raise.
MOAA believes strongly this bill is too important to be upset by a lame-duck veto.
Please send the White House a MOAA-suggested message urging the President to sign the defense bill into law.