Keeping the blogosphere posted on the goings on of the world of submarines since late 2004... and mocking and belittling general foolishness wherever it may be found. Idaho's first and foremost submarine blog. (If you don't like something on this blog, please E-mail me; don't call me at home.)

Friday, June 05, 2009

Your Tax Dollars At Work

As I picked up a prescription today, I was surprised that they didn't charge me anything for it; normally, with Tricare, I have either a $3 or $9 co-pay, depending on if it's generic or not. It turns out that there's an annual maximum one has to pay, and it appears I met it with all the cancer surgery recovery drugs I got earlier this year.

I'm starting to think that, believe it or not, having Tricare as a free secondary insurance is one of the better benefits of being a retiree. What do you guys think, either as a taxpayer I'm "leeching" off or as someone who is or might be getting the Good Deal?

36 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Joel,
As a fellow retire, I never consider it leeching off of the taxpayers. Unlike many who get a handout for nothing, we earned it.

6/05/2009 3:55 PM

 
Blogger Bubblehead said...

Good point. I also think I earned this benefit, so I edited the post to put quotes around "leeching".

6/05/2009 4:01 PM

 
Blogger sigszilla said...

As someone who is 4-14 years from retiring, that is one of the great benefits I am looking forward to.

You definitely earned it, shipmates!

6/05/2009 4:11 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's an earned benifit-as is retirement pay. Actually, I define my retirement pay as "deferred compensation", as we bored a lot of holes through the ocean for about $1.50 hr, definately not merchant marine wages!

MMCS(SS) Ret.

6/05/2009 4:44 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Definitely not leeching. My wife is federal law enforcement and we still use my Tricare rather than what she has available. When I hear from co-workers, particularly management, and what they pay I'm glad I stayed in. I concur with MMCS(SS).

OldCOB

6/05/2009 5:44 PM

 
Blogger Bill said...

I was not in the service and I think you guys have earned every penny and benefit you get.As anonymous said, you guys were(are) severely underpaid.

6/05/2009 8:33 PM

 
Blogger Vigilis said...

While I have made looking out for taxpayers a personal crusade, depriving vets of their due is not even part of that equation in my book.

Anyone who benefits directly from TARP or STIMULUS programs, or the fleecings of the public purse that made them "necessary", however, should benefit from no further assistance until the truly deserving receive their due, in my personal opinion.

6/05/2009 10:26 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Leeching? Umm No, it ain't leeching.
You stay in for 20 to 30 years, you've clearly earned 50% to 75% retirement pay along with medical insurance and alot of other cool shit for the rest of your life.

Are we underpaid? Well, that's debatable. The SRBs and fam sep, sea pay, sub pay, hostile fire pay, and many others are nice to have. So is BAH. All those extra pays are not taxed. Oops, wait a sec, SRBs are taxed, my mistake. My point is that we do get a few extras. We even get a pay increase after the new year. We may only get 2% or 3.5% a year, but over time, those small percentages tend to add up.

We get free uniforms (enlisted), free medical care, a free place to live(on base) 3 free hot meals a day (if you don't count Mid-Rats)...free training to learn a trade in life. Most of our A & C schools, do count towards a certain amount of college credit as well. Hell, you even get P.E. credit just fore making it through boot camp at Great Mistakes.

There's that other thing called the GI Bill. I'm actually getting payed to finish my Bachelors in Economics. I wonder if I'll have enough GI Bill ammo left over to earn a future MBA too? A Masters degree might look fairly decent in my paper work when I stand before a Chief's board for the first time in 3 to 4 years from now.

I figure the Navy will have paid for close to 80% of my education by the time I'm done. Not too bad huh?

The only personal bills I have in life is a cell phone bill, SGLI, dry cleaning and insurance coverage for my truck. My sea pay & sub pay covers all that shit by themselves. About the only other costs I have in life is going out for steak & scallops and pussy & beer. Yes, that part comes out of my taxable base pay, but I'm not complaining.

Are we really underpaid? Add up all the shit I just mentioned and you tell me. For the average guy in the ages of 18 to 25, I feel that we're doing just fine.

The only rates who can really make an argument about being underpaid, are Nuclear trained MMs, Ets, and EMs.

STS, MTs and FTs, also have a fine point to make since their rates can land them a decent job in CIVLANT. But then in CIVLANT, you're paying for a house or rent, utilities, car payments and everything else you can think of.
I don't want to pay for any of that til I retire.

So again I ask, are we really underpaid? Well, that just depends on how you look at it.

6/05/2009 11:16 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

So, Joel said he is using TRICARE as a secondary insurance. Any other retirees doing that? My employer pays me a little more to not use one of their medical plans. Using TRICARE as the main insurance and paying for a supplement for the secondary.

Thoughts from other retirees?

6/06/2009 6:05 AM

 
Anonymous Ross Kline said...

My employer is also paying me to NOT use their company provided health care...and since their premiums are significantly higher than Tricare, i have no issue with that.

As to whether or not your typical sailor is underpaid - given the level of responsibility that even a junior sailor is expected to show, yes, all military people are underpaid. it might not be by much, but they all are.

6/06/2009 6:51 AM

 
Blogger wtfdnucsailor said...

When I was in my second career, I used TRICARE as the secondary insurance to take care of co pays, etc. from the insurance provided by my employer. For those whose companies are paying them not to use the insurance, I assume that they pay anyone who does not use the insurance since it became illegal about two years ago to pay a military retiree to use Tricare as primary insurance unless all employees were made that offer.
Now that I am retired retired and on Medicare and TFL and drawing retirement pay and Social Security, I find that I have enough income to do all the things I want to do, I just don't get paid for it directly. It certainly makes up for the sacrifices made while on active sea duty. Anonymous from 06/05/09 at 11:16 PM is obviously not married. Before I got married I was concerned when my checking account dropped to $500 balance. After marriage with children, I was thrilled when the check book had $5.00 in it when the next paycheck rolled in. When I see what all of my fellow retirees are doing in the community, I think the country has gotten a bargain.

6/06/2009 9:26 AM

 
Blogger Bigbill said...

When I retire, I'm taking advantage of everything I can get. I will likely have significant disability in addition to my retirement pay. For now, I try to work less to make my hourly rate higher.

6/06/2009 10:13 AM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

When I heard my first reenlistment spiel in 1960, one of the beni's promised (in writing)was FREE Medical Care for life after retirement. I used that following my retirement in 1977. That went in the dumper in the early 90's following the end of the cold war. Legal challenges followed. The courts, acknowledging the written promises of DoD still sided with the government, and that is why you are paying for TriCare after you retire, and for your family members.

Another illustration you should be aware of is how the Transition Assistance Program started. The Bush 41 DoD initiated massive manpower reductions following DS/DS in 1991. There was NO PLAN FOR ANY ASSISTANCE for Vets being released early. It was only the intervention of Congress spearheaded by Sen. Sam Nunn, and Rep. "Sonny" Montgomery that put the entire Transition Assistance Program in place over the initial objections of the Bush 41 administration.

You owe what you have today in "benefits" to Congress and the hard work of The Military Coalition.

Never, ever assume that what you have now will not be taken away from you. Stay active with Veterans Organizations, particularly those that have strong lobby functions in DC. Pay attention to what your congressmen and Senators vote for RE: Vets.

Bottom line, If you have TriCare For Life as second payer to Medicare as I do, it is under attack by DoD as is the entire TriCare operation.

That is all, carry on.

DBFTMC(SS)USNRET

6/06/2009 11:53 AM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Tricare >> CHAMPUS

Don't even worry about it.

Military compensation [s]might be[/s] is better for married folks, but don't anyone put into print that it is near comparable to the Real World for anyone.

I gladly paid rent in San Diego because, as a single skimmer type, Uncle Sam thought my rack was a good enough home. I really disliked married guys who were compensated far more that I was, all else being equal, while also understanding that it is in a society's interest to help raise children.

(Which dovetails into why I. personally, am against SS marriage- marriage benefits are to help with raising families, which, [i]in general[/i], one type of couple does and one type does not.)

-3383

EDIT: gah, no BB code?

6/06/2009 12:20 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

480 dollars a year...you can't beat it! We live near the Naval Hospital and getting appointments are easy and hardly ever a wait.

As for the free health care for retirees. I always heard that claim but could never find it in writing? Anyone know where that is written? What instruction? You can't take a dump in the Navy without reading an instruction!

I even have my original contracts and handouts from my recruiter and there is nothing in there. Like everyone, I always heard about it yet can't find it.

6/06/2009 3:21 PM

 
Anonymous YNC(SS), USN, Retired said...

Wow. Don't know how to handle this question. Medical insurance; in my present case Tricare for Life and Medicare Parts A and B. For my wife who is a mere child of 58 we have Tricare Prime. My wife has recently had her 8th and final chemo-therapy treatment for Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma. Let me tell you, Tricare is SOLID GOLD.

Back to leaching off the system. I entered the Navy in 1959 with a base pay of $78.00 per month, and retired as a CPO in 1987 with a whopping $2042.00 base pay. Assorted bumps and bruises along the way because I signed on the line to accept them in the line of duty. Now it's time for the taxpayer; including you and me, to pay the piper. Thank you. Thank me.

6/06/2009 3:46 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oops, sorry. Just one more thing in answer to someone else's question. I worked for the Great State of Washington for a few days under 16 years. During that time we used my employer offered insurance; Uniform Medical Plan for all of our medical needs. Never touched Tricare until I retired from state service.

6/06/2009 3:54 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Like Barack says, the government is out of money.

Enjoy your benefits while you still have them.

6/06/2009 7:44 PM

 
Blogger Subvet said...

I figure I've earned all the bennies I get and will enjoy them until they're taken away.

Which might happen at any time.

6/06/2009 8:16 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"If you make the Navy your career, your retirement benefits will be far greater. You will receive generous retirement pay, and you will continue to receive health benefits and on-base shopping privileges similar to those you enjoyed while on duty."
http://www.navy.com/benefits/after/

You earned those privileges. Don't give it a second thought.

As a young Sailor, I scoffed at the medical benefits until I ended up in the hospital at 23 for almost a month long stay & a much longer recuperation period. In the civilian sector the bills w/ a typical 80/20 plan would have been ginormous. My bill after 29 days as an inpatient was around a hundred & fifty bucks for the meals (since I was already receiving COMRATs).

As I get closer to military retirement & beginning my next career, it is nice not to have to worry about medical coverage wherever I choose to go once I hang up my poopie suits for garage use & join the civilian sector.

Enjoy those benefits with a clean conscience!

STSC

6/06/2009 11:29 PM

 
Blogger SonarMan said...

As was stated above, it is certainly not leeching, as is those who recieve welfare, foodstamps, etc. Sure, sometimes your down on your luck, and getting those benefits that you've paid into is a help. I've been there, but, BUT, I actively sought and obtained employment. I didn't receive it indefinitely.

My family and I are Tricare Prime and it's worth every penny, at about $480 a year. We see civilian doctors in town, so we don't have to deal with the Navy quacks who are more concerned about playing Naval Officer and cutting costs. If you're a retiree, you're foolish not to use it. Unless you can get better. I recommend every retiree at least look into it.

I had cervical spinal surgery in 06. I paid fifty bucks. For my meals. That's all. The surgery was well over $40,000. You can't beat that with a stick, and I can't afford my company's medical package. It's a no brainer.

Those retiree benefits, as well as VA disibility compensation that some of us receive, I consider those a small thank you from a grateful government for my selfless duty and sacrifice. And that is what I tell all of my shipmates who think they're leeching.

6/07/2009 12:40 AM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Any of you guys extolling the virtues of TRICARE want to step up to the plate for Universal Health care?

6/07/2009 5:49 AM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Considering General Motors used to furnish free Viagra to its retirees, I consider the TriCare benefit to be well earned and deserved!

6/07/2009 6:06 AM

 
Blogger Srvd_SSN_CO said...

Benefits are all funded by someone. Health care in the US is not paid by individuals, ergo we have no concerns about the costs. Your employer essentially pays for health care out of wages..how else? So, over time, since there is no market effect to drive costs down or hold them steady, health care goes up and wages just stay the same.

I really though the dems would figure this out, but if we gave vouchers (like the reps propose), then there would be competition.

Unfortunately, since everyone wants the free ride, we will just keep raising taxes to pay for it.

Not saying tricare isn't a privilege we've earned, but the free ride cannot continue.

6/07/2009 9:04 AM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

anon 3:21,

When Champus/TriCare policy changes were challenged in the courts in early 90's evidence included recruiting posters specifically stating "free lifetime medical care." The courts acknowledged promises made and then sided with the government to abrogate those promises.

During the time of those court challenges there was a group of military retirees in Texas that started picketing military recruiting offices. The message on the signs they carried stated the military lied to retirees re: lifetime medical care. Recruiters who were interviewed said the picketing didn't help them, and as most were career they were sympathetic to the picketers.

Your "retiree benefit package" is always on the line when it comes votes in congress. Ancient history to be sure, however during the depression in the 1930's military retirement was cut in half and AcDu pay was also reduced in order to balance the federal
budget.

Take heed!!

My two cents.............

Keep a zero bubble.........

DBFTMC(SS)USNRET

6/07/2009 12:39 PM

 
Anonymous PHX Skyharbor Layover said...

always pay the active folks and the veterans... some governments over time have made the mistake of not doing just that

big mistake to not pay the people who carry or carried the guns for the state

not by any stretch saying we are as bad off as a place like zimbabwe, but their decade old financial and state collapse was precipitate when Mugabe took away veterans benefits.... the resultant uprising caused him to empty the state coffers and "give away" land that belonged to other folks

that is the abridged version, but its the same reason that every year, the Joint Chiefs through the DoD and executive branch, ask for a raise of between 1.5 and 2.5 percent, then the Congress ups it to 3.5-3.7% in the approved budget, a nice little politcal understanding that keeps congress in the best light in terms of paying the troops and the veterans

by the way, 3.5% barely keeps our base pay on scale with inflation (this past year notwithstanding)

another fun fact is that the second largest agency, as measured by budget, behind the DoD is the Veteran's administration..... congress will gladly cut the JSF, since that only pisses off the towns that manufacture them

6/07/2009 1:03 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Joel- I've been lurking for a couple of years and greatly enjoy your blog.
I did 2 years USArmy ('67-69) and use the VA for most of my health care needs. I only go every couple of years, they bill my employer's health insurance (USPS) and, since I'm 10% Service-connected and PH they (VA) eat the rest of the cost. I'd have a small co-pay (9 bucks, I think) for any medications, except for Epi-pens that cost me $24 each. The care may not be perfect, but I can't remember any civilian medical care provider with whom I've been completely happy, and as a guy who had his first experience at the VA in San Fran in 1970, I'll tell you that care and attitude towards patients now is light years ahead of where it was then.
BTW, my daughter served 8 years in USNavy as an Airframer on C2 Greyhounds, with cruises on USS Carl Vinson and USS John C. Stennis.
My thanks to all you who've served. You deserve all the bennies you get and more.

Inbredredneck
(Rob J AlphaCo,4th/47th,9thInfDiv, USArmy RVN '68 Mobile Riverine Force)

6/07/2009 7:29 PM

 
Blogger John said...

We earned the benefit so you should not feel like a leech if you are using it for legitimate purposes.

I use my retired Tricare (standard) as my primary insurance. My employer used to offer a supplement until Dumsfeld convinced Congress to outlaw that practice. Asshole. All the supps I looked at didn't seem to be worth it based on their cost and the TriCare cap.

FTC(SS)retired.

6/08/2009 10:27 AM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have three insurances.
1. My company provides one
2. My wife’s company provides one
3. Tricare standard.

And I use them all. I can go to the doctor, he bills my insurance and if that doesn’t cover the cost, they bill my next insurance.
I use Tricare for general use, colds, flu etc.
Last week I took my son down to Balboa Naval Hospital and he received all his shots and Malaria pills for his upcoming mission trip to Thailand. What cost the civilians $1500.00, cost me nothing out of pocket.

What all of this cost me was 20 years of service to my country, which I did gladly. (most of the time anyway). It cost me a little over 5 years of accumulated time under water in those 20 years.
I look at it as my country keeping its contract with me and I use all of the benefits I can. I sucked the GI Bill barrel dry and after I got my MBA, I figured out that I had spent about 10k out of pocket. I shop on the base. I use the base gas stations because they are usually 10 to 20 cents cheaper per gallon than outside and I can’t stand giving the big oil companies my money. I use the library and job resource centers and when they used to allow it, I would occasionally eat on base.

That Damn Good Looking Aganger From Iowa

6/08/2009 1:53 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Don't forget the class Six.
You're not paying tax when you by a case of beer on base either.

6/08/2009 9:27 PM

 
Blogger Maogwai said...

I am a TRICARE kind of cat and an insurance person, too.

Tricare saves me and the spouse about 400 bucks a month, we use the Standard version which gives more choice in providers. There is a 3K limit on costs per year, so we don't bother with supplemental insurance to protect 3000 bucks. Tricare Prime is an excellent way to cover your family while keeping Co-Pay costs down.

You earned it, you use it!

Only the UAW and CON-gress have better health plans.

6/10/2009 7:56 AM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Last week I took my son down to Balboa Naval Hospital and he received all his shots and Malaria pills for his upcoming mission trip to Thailand."

I always got shots AFTER my "mission" in Thailand!

6/10/2009 8:21 AM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Take heed my friends as you walk by

As you are now, so once was I

As I am now, so you must be

Prepare for death, and follow me

None of it matters once you're dead.....

6/10/2009 3:11 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

That;s a good one.

I like this one...

Remember Them

If you are able,
save for them a place
inside of you
and save one backward glance
when you are leaving
for the places they can
no longer go.
Be not ashamed to say
you loved them,
though you may
or may not have always.
Take what they have have left
and what they have taught you
with their dying
and keep it with your own.
And in that time
when men decide and feel safe
to call the war insane,
take one moment to embrace
those gentle heroes
you left behind.

Major Michael O'Donnell



That's not just for the Army. It counts for all of us.

6/10/2009 10:39 PM

 
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12/25/2011 12:39 PM

 
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5/02/2012 12:16 PM

 

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