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JamesRK
Advanced Member

USA
25428 Posts

Posted - 12/24/2011 :  3:16:31 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
December 23, 2011
Dear JamesRK,

This is your personal invitation to subscribe to NewsBytes, FRA's free legislative weekly e-mail update. It's short, to the point, and each Friday it lets you know what is happening on Capitol Hill regarding issues important to you and your family.

Below is a copy of what went out this week... and if you are interested in subscribing, please just click here and check the box for NewsBytes. The link will automatically log you into James Killingsworth' s FRA record. PLEASE DO NOT FORWARD THIS E-MAIL.
NewsBytes can also be viewed on www.fra.org or heard by phone at 1-800-FRA-1924, ext. 112.

FRA NewsBytes 12/23/11

In this week's edition:
Another Temporary Doc Fix
Walgreens to Leave TRICARE Pharmacy Network
CRDP/CRSC Open Season Begins in January
BAH Rates for 2012
House Passes Measures that Impact Shipmates
FRA Holiday Schedule

Another Temporary Doc Fix
Last December Congress approved a one-year extension of current Medicare/TRICARE reimbursement rates for doctors seeing Medicare and TRICARE patients (Public Law No: 111-309) and scheduled rate cuts of 27.4 percent were delayed from taking effect until January 1, 2012. Now a so-called legislative "doc fix" again is required to address the pending cuts. Last week the House passed onto the Senate the "Temporary Payroll Tax Cut Continuation Act" (H.R. 3630) that provided a two-year extension for the Medicare/TRICARE physician reimbursement rate along with a one-year extension of Social Security payroll tax, and other programs that expire January 1, 2012. The Senate amended the bill to extend the doc fix and Social Security payroll tax for only two months and adjourned for the holidays. The House initially rejected the Senate amendment and called for a conference committee to resolve the differences between the Senate bill and the House bill. However, growing pressure from constituents led to both the House and Senate passing the two-month extension today by unanimous consent. The President has said he will immediately sign the legislation.

Walgreens to Leave TRICARE Pharmacy Network
Beginning January 1, 2012 Walgreens drug stores will no longer be part of the network used by the TRICARE Pharmacy plan known as Express Scripts, Inc. (ESI), which is a Pharmacy Benefit Management (PBM) company that processes TRICARE pharmacy claims. TRICARE beneficiaries filling a prescription at Walgreens after December 31, 2011, will pay 100 percent of the cost up-front and than file a paper claim for non-network benefit reimbursement, that will dramatically increase out of pocket costs.
Other retail pharmacy options include CVS, Rite Aid, Walmart and Safeway stores and some smaller local pharmacies. In addition, this is a good time to consider TRICARE Home Delivery.

For more information on retail pharmacies and the Home Delivery option, go to: www.express-scripts.com/TRICARE ;

CRDP/CRSC Open Season Begins in January
Retirees who qualify for both Concurrent Retirement and Disability Pay (CRDP) and Combat-Related Special Compensation (CRSC) can choose which compensation they prefer to receive during the CRDP/CRSC open season that runs for the entire month of January 2012. According to federal law, retirees can receive either CRDP or CRSC, but not both.

All eligible retirees should have received a CRDP/CRSC Open Season Election Form in the mail, which includes a comparison of the CRDP and CRSC entitlement amounts and information about tax implications. Retirees should return the form only if they wish to make a change from CRDP to CRSC or vice versa. No action is required to keep things the way they are and the current payment will continue uninterrupted. Forms must be postmarked no later than January 31, 2012 and the usual processing time for this change is 30 days. All elections remain in effect unless changed in a subsequent annual open season. Visit the DFAS website for additional information (www.dfas.mil).

BAH Rates for 2012
The Department of Defense (DoD) released the 2012 Basic Allowance for Housing (BAH) rates. BAH is a U.S. based allowance prescribed by geographic duty location, pay grade, and dependency status. It provides uniformed Service members equitable housing compensation based on housing costs in local civilian housing markets within the United States when government quarters are not provided. Post 911 GI Bill housing stipends are also tied to BAH rates. Military personnel will receive an average BAH increase of two percent, effective on January 1, 2012, and the Department of Veterans Affairs will adjust housing stipends for GI Bill beneficiaries effective February 1, 2012. To find a specific BAH rate go to:
http://www.defensetravel.dod.mil/site/pdcFiles.cfm?dir=/Allowances/BAH/Component_Breakdown/

House Passes Measures that Impact Shipmates
The House recently passed two measures that impact FRA members including the "Risk-Based Security Screening for Members of The Armed Forces Act" (H.R. 1801), sponsored by Rep. Chip Cravaack (MN). The measure requires the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to implement a plan for expedited airport security screenings for service members (and their families) traveling on official orders while in uniform. The Senate approved the bill with a technical amendment and sent it back to the House for final approval.

In addition, the House approved (407-1) the "National Guard and Reservist Debt Relief Extension Act" (H.R. 2192), sponsored by Rep. Steve Cohen (TN). This bill extends provisions protecting certain members of the Reserve Component from bankruptcy proceedings beyond December 31, 2011; when the existing provisions were due to expire. The measure extends the provision through 2015. The proposal will move to the Senate for further consideration next year.

FRA Holiday Schedule
Due to the Christmas and New Year holidays, the next edition of FRA's NewsBytes will be distributed on Friday, January 6, 2012. Please note that FRA's National Headquarters (NHQ) will be closed on Monday, December 26th, and Monday, January 2nd, 2012, in observance of these holidays.

Best wishes from the entire NHQ Team - particularly to those serving our nation far from home - for a safe and joyous holiday season, and healthy and prosperous 2012.
________________________________________

NewsBytes is FRA's weekly legislative update. If you would like to hear a recorded version of NewsBytes, dial 1-800-FRA-1924 (ext. 112).

To share your views on these and other important topics, visit www.fra.org/discussand click on "News."

Follow FRA on Twitter (@FRAHQ) and "like" FRA on Facebook (use the shortcut of www.fra.org/fb)

FRA is celebrating its 87th anniversary and is the oldest and largest association representing the interests of current and former Navy, Marine Corps and Coast Guard personnel.

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