TREA: The ENLISTED ASSN
NEWS FOR THE ENLISTED
FOR JULY 6, 2012
Last Friday the DC/Virginia/Maryland area was hit by a tremendous storm with steady 70-80 mph winds. It plunged over a million customers in the dark with no power and air conditioner in a series of 90-100 degree days. To add to this Congress was out of season this week and Wednesday was the 4th of July- so this was a very strained and unusual week in your Nation’s Capital. BUT THE FIREWORKS WERE MAGNIFICENT!
1) DoD Rolls Out FY2013 Prime/USFHP Enrollment Fees
FROM TREA HQ:
TRICARE Management Activity (TMA) announced the TRICARE Prime’s and the United States Family Health Plan’s (USFHP) enrollment fees set for FY2013. The fees are scheduled to go into effect on October 1, 2012 the beginning of the federal government’s new fiscal year. The fees do not apply to active duty service members or their family members. They apply primarily to military retirees, their families and survivors under the age of 65.
Annual Quarterly Monthly
These numbers were calculated using a CY 2012 COLA of 3.6% . If you were enrolled in TRICARE Prime or the USFHP prior to October 1, 2011 you are presently paying $230 a year for individual coverage or $460 per year for Family coverage. If you enrolled after October 1, 2011 you are presently paying $250 a year for an individual and $520 for family coverage.
Active Duty Survivors and Uniformed Services Medically retirees’ premiums will stay frozen at the rate that they were enrolled in and will stay “frozen” as long as the policy remains active. (This provision is complicated so if you have a question please call us at TREA’s Washington Office)
It is interesting to note that TMA is saying that the rates may change in the middle of the year and that they are advising beneficiaries to pay either monthly or quarterly. What this clearly means is that DoD still hopes to get their proposed increases included in the FY2013 NDAA. They are not easing up on this issue and neither should we.
On Monday the Government Accountability Office (GAO) announced that it denied TriWest’s protest of DoD’s prior award of the TRICARE West region T-3 contract to United Health Group.
TriWest President David J. McIntyre said, “Given our 16-year long commitment to providing access to care for military families across the West Region, we are extremely disappointed by the GAO’s findings regarding our protest. We will be discussing this decision with our company’s owners and the counsel who represent us, and will, in turn, be making a decision on what, if any, action we will take in response to the GAO’s denial of our protest.” (Their next possible legal step would be to appeal to the U.S. Federal Court of Claims.)
TriWest was created in 1996 by several Blue Cross/Blue Shield organizations and university hospital systems to bid for the original TRICARE contract. It presently serves 2.9 million TRICARE beneficiaries in the 21 state West region: Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Iowa (excluding Rock Island Arsenal area), Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri (excluding the St. Louis area), Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oregon, South Dakota, portions of Texas (including El Paso), Utah, Washington and Wyoming. It has approximately 1,700 employees. In the past Mr. McIntyre has said without the contract it is likely that the company will shut down.
Lori McDougal, CEO of UnitedHealth Military & Veterans Services said "UnitedHealth Military & Veterans Services is honored to be able to put our expertise and experience to work on behalf of Tricare West beneficiaries, and we look forward to working with the Defense Department and the incumbent contractor to ensure a smooth transition for servicemembers, retirees and their families.
TREA: The Enlisted Association will keep you informed about any additional information about this important story.
According to Ted Daywalt, Chief Executive Officer at VetJobs.com, Canadian officials are hoping to hire U.S. veterans across the border to fill massive backlog of job openings.
VetJobs.com said that the Edmonton Economic Development Corporation is opening thousands of pipeline jobs to U.S. veterans willing to travel or relocate up north.
“Unlike most of North America, we have more jobs than we have workers to fill them,” according to the group’s hiring announcement. Edmonton, Alberta officials anticipate a shortage of 114,000 workers to work on oil pipelines in the Alberta province. According to Daywalt, companies there want U.S. veterans because they already possess skills like welding, iron working and maintaining power plants, skill learned from their active-duty days.
Daywalt also said that pay for the work can be up to 30 percent more than similar jobs found within the U.S.
For more information, visit www.vetjobs.com, click on Search Jobs, then type “opportunity awaits” into the company search field.
Attempt To Push Agreement Before Election?
Lockheed Martin, the Nation’s largest defense contractor, has publicly said they will likely notify the “vast majority” of their 123,000 workers on November 2 (less than 1 week before the federal election) that they are at risk of being laid off. The threat, according to Greg Walters, the company’s vice president of legislative affairs, is based on the pending sequestration of $500 billion of defense spending that is scheduled to take effect on January 2, 2013, if no agreement is reached. The Company says that they are required to give at least 60 days notice of possible lay-offs under the federal WARN Act.
The sequestration would require across the board, automatic cuts in the next 10 years totaling $500 billion. $55 billion in cuts is called for in 2013. Some members of the WARN Act say that Lockheed Martin would not need to notify their total workforce and that this is a move to put political pressure on Congress and President Obama to reach a deal to stop the sequestration prior to the election. (Mr. Walter’s position as VP for Legislative Affairs lends credence to this idea.) Behind the scenes other defense contractors are said to also be threatening to issue possible lay-off notices before the election.
This may also be an attempt to force a dialog among the defense contractors and the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Lockheed Martin says that they plan to send out notices to the vast majority of employees since they do not know who could be affected since, although repeatedly asked, the OMB has not provided any guidance as to how the sequestration would be implemented. Mr. Walters told POLITICO” “We’ve wanted a dialog about what sequestration could look like but as of right now, no, we have no answers from OMB.”
Many members of Congress are proposing methods to stop or at least delay sequestration and the required across the board cuts for the Department of Defense or for all federal departments that would be effected. One bill HR3662 introduced by Chairman of the House Armed Services Committee Rep. Buck McKeon (R-CA) and companion bill, S2065, introduced by Jon Kyle (R-AZ) in the Senate, would pay for the 1st year of sequestration by a 10 year 10% reduction of the federal civilian workforce achieved through attrition.
While many commentators saw Lockheed’s announcement as simply a political/legislative move Bloomberg Government just published a study about the pending sequestration and concluded that:
“Most companies will have to respond to sequestration by Oct. 1, if not sooner, by taking actions such as reducing workforces or cutting back on capital expenditures." (emphasis added) Federal fiscal year 2013 begins on that date, and contract revenue may drop then if the Office of Management and Budget holds back funds in anticipation of sequestration.
-- Small prime contractors and subcontractors may not have enough cash or credit to sustain operations in the hope that sequestration will be reversed or halted.
-- How subcontractors respond will depend largely on what prime contractors do. The further removed a subcontractor is from the government customer, the fewer choices it may have.”
So this may very well not be a bluff or tactic, but the first step required of defense contractors. Certainly there will be more to come on this topic in the future.
Below is an American Press Service Office article outlining the expanded Homeowners Assistance Program and warning that applications will not be accepted after September 30 of this year (the end of the federal fiscal year.) If you qualify and need help you should start to apply as soon as possible. It can be a very helpful program but time is short.
Deadline Nears for Expanded Homeowners Assistance Program
By Amaani Lyle, American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, July 3, 2012 - Eligible military members and federal civilian employees who face financial loss when selling their primary residence may receive compensation, provided they apply for the Expanded Homeowners Assistance Program by Sept. 30.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers manages HAP on behalf of the military branches. The HAP, initially created by Congress in 1966, provides financial assistance to qualifying homeowners when a closure or significant change in operations at a military base leads to severe losses in the local real estate market.
The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, Public Law 111-5, expanded the HAP to provide assistance to:
-- Deployed wounded, injured, or ill members of the Armed Forces (30% or greater disability) and forward deployed wounded, injured, or ill Department of Defense and Coast Guard civilian homeowners (including employees of non-appropriated fund instrumentalities) reassigned in furtherance of medical treatment or rehabilitation or due to medical retirement in connection with their disability;
-- Surviving spouses of the fallen;
-- Base Realignment and Closure 2005-impacted homeowners relocating during the mortgage crisis; and
-- Service member homeowners undergoing Permanent Change of Station moves during the mortgage crisis.
"The amended law now includes HAP relief for surviving spouses of the fallen, BRAC 2005-impacted homeowners relocating during the mortgage crisis, and service member homeowners undergoing permanent-change-of-station moves during the mortgage crisis," said Michael McAndrew, director of facilities investment and management office for the deputy undersecretary of defense for installations and environment.
Key expanded HAP deadlines and qualifying timeframes have already passed, McAndrew said, further escalating the urgency of swift benefit distribution and program closure.
"Reassignment order dates must range from Feb. 1, 2006, through Sept. 30, 2010, and qualifying property purchases, or signed contracts to purchase must have occurred prior to July 1, 2006," McAndrew said. "BRAC reached its full implementation by Sept. 15, 2011."
The total benefit calculation, capped at $729,750, is based upon the home purchase price, McAndrew said.
"We've made every effort to try and make funds available to pay as many of these applications as we can, and so far we've been very successful in doing that," McAndrew explained, adding that the program is designed to minimize the housing market's impact, not negate it altogether.
"It's a great program, but we can't help folks if they don't apply," McAndrew said. "We need to know who is out there because there's no magic database in the department that tells us who may have been impacted."
Wounded, injured and ill and surviving spouse applications take priority and are not be subject to the Sept. 30, 2012, deadline for claims.
All applications are now centrally processed through the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Savannah District. To apply, visit the HAP web site and follow application instructions.
TREA: The Enlisted Association attended the 2011-2012 Army Junior Reserve Officer Training Course (JROTC) Leadership Symposium and Academic Bowl on Sunday, June 24, at George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia. TREA was represented at the event by National President Arthur Cooper, Chapter 24 President Mary Gray, and Deputy Legislative Director Mike Saunders.
As explained by Mr. Terry Wilfong, President and CEO of College Options Foundation, the benefits of participating in this free Academic bowl and Leadership Symposium include improve SAT/ACT scores, increasing interest in college attendance, demonstrating the academic strength of the JROTC program, and boosting team and unit spirit, and improving leadership skills.
As was made clear, this is not a program designed to recruit high school kids into the military. Instead, it is designed to prepare future leaders of tomorrow while using military principles to instill work ethic, leadership and confidence that participants can use throughout the rest of their lives, whatever they ultimately end up doing, rather than simply being a feeder system in the military or Reserve Officer Training (ROTC) ranks.
After walking through classrooms and speaking to cadets who were engaged in leadership and team-building exercises, TREA’s contingent then witnessed the Army JROTC ‘s Academic Bowl finalist selection competition. After the winner was selected, the Army competed against Navy and Air Force JROTC programs from around the country. The Army came from behind to win a well-played, competitive, and thoroughly entertaining 2012 JROTC Academic Bowl Championship. TREA: The Enlisted Association salutes all of the competitors for their efforts.
The Government Accountability Office’s (GAO) study of the last completed round of Base Realignment and Closure ( BRAC) concluded that implementation costs have risen from the predicted $21 billion to $35 billion by September 30th 2011 when the latest round of BRAC was formally completed. (Not that there is not still fine tuning going on today.
Many projects were much more expensive than predicted. These included:
The complete BRAC exercise was expected to save the federal government $36 billion by 2025. However with these and other additional costs the GAO states that DoD will save less than $10 billion by 2025. And who knows what further additional costs will be discovered.
When the Administration requested that Congress authorize 2 additional rounds of BRAC- there was deadly silence. With this new information it is clear that Congress will not be tempted to take up the proposal anytime in the near future.
FROM TREA HQ:
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