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Military retirees to pay higher health premiums


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Nov 16, 2010
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Military retirees will pay slightly more for their health care starting Saturday, and more cost increases are on the way.

Premiums haven't been raised since 1994 and still will be just a fraction of what civilians pay. Under a change announced by the Defense Department on Thursday, individuals who enroll in the retiree program as of Saturday will pay $260 annually, up from $230, and it will be $520 annually for a family, up from $460.

Military health costs have ballooned since 2001, and increases announced Thursday were approved in February by former Defense Secretary Robert Gates, who said he was trying to get spending under control.

The decades-old health program, known as TRICARE, provides health coverage to some 10 million active duty personnel, retirees, reservists and their families. Its costs have jumped from $19 billion in 2001 to $53 billion, according to estimates from earlier this year.

Military retirees to pay higher health premiums - Yahoo! News

That retirement system is also under a magnifying glass.

But Panetta also said the system needed to be looked at, and other defense officials have said everything is on the table as the Pentagon looks for savings.

Panetta also agreed with the advisory group that the retirement system is unfair in that it pays lifetime benefits at about half of base pay, starting immediately when a person retires with 20 years of service but it pays nothing for those who stay in uniform for 10, 15 or even 19 years.

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