Here is a collection of various pieces of information Veterans and family members may find useful.
Veterans’ Day Deals. In addition to discounts normally provided to Veterans in stores such as Home Depot, there are a number of special discounts or free meals for Veterans on Veterans’ Day. Some deals include family members or spouses dining with the veteran. There are so many such offers we are providing the following web site for you to research restaurants near you: https://www.offers.com/blog/post/veterans-day-freebies/ . There are many other web sites containing lists of discounts/free meals or free appetizers. As always, not all franchises of a particular restaurant participates so, as we always say, ask if there is a veterans’ discount before going. Many stores don’t advertise the fact they provide a discount so it pays to ask.
Pilots. The Air Force has laid out plans to welcome back retired pilots into active-duty staff positions.
The service, through the Voluntary Retired Return to Active Duty Program, or VRRAD, is encouraging pilots who held a job in the 11X career field to apply before Dec. 31, 2018, officials said in a release this week.
In an effort to address the increasing pilot shortage, Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson last July signed off on the program, which aims to fill flight staff positions with those who have prior pilot experience and expertise, thus allowing active-duty pilots to focus on training and missions.
Returning retirees will not be eligible for aviation bonuses, the release said. They will deploy only if they volunteer. (Source: Military.com | 4 Oct 2017 | by Oriana Pawlyk)
VA app. The VA nationwide roll-out of an application will make it easier to schedule or change appointments with VA. The Veteran Appointment Request app (VAR) is an application that makes it possible for veterans to use their smartphone, tablet or computer to schedule or modify appointments at VA facilities. The VAR capability is currently available to veterans at several locations nationwide. During its initial rollout, veterans used the app to book more than 4,000 appointments with their providers. VA will continue to roll out the application nationwide eventually bringing the capability to all VA facilities and clinics. For more information, visit the Veteran Appointment Request webpage. (source: Military.com | Week of August 14, 2017).
VA Claims. The VA announced their new Decision Ready Claim (DRC) initiative which they say promises to deliver faster disability claim decisions to veterans. In fact, their press release says that “veterans who choose to submit their claim under DRC can expect to receive a decision within 30 days from the time VA receives the claim.” To those who waited months or years for the VA to make a decision on a disability claim this sounds too good to be true. Check out the details to see if this is as good as it sounds. (Source: Military.com | Week of September 11, 2017).
TRICARE Changes. Changes are coming to your TRICARE benefit beginning January 1st, 2018. These changes will give you more benefit choices, will improve your access to care and will simplify cost shares. The best way you can prepare is to update your information in the Defense Enrollment Eligibility Reporting System, or DEERS, sign up for TRICARE benefit updates, and visit the TRICARE changes page at TRICARE.mil/changes.
Here’s what you need to know: There are NO currently planned changes to TRICARE FOR LIFE.
- Currently, there are three TRICARE regions in the U.S. to include TRICARE North, South and West. The TRICARE North and South regions will combine to form TRICARE East, while TRICARE West will remain mostly unchanged. Two new contractors, Humana Military and Health Net Federal Services, will administer these regions. This change will allow better coordination between the military hospitals and clinics and the civilian health care providers in each region.
- During 2018, you can choose to enroll in or change coverage plans. Enrollment will move to a calendar year open enrollment period beginning in the fall of 2018, during which active enrollment will be required for coverage for the following year. The open enrollment period will begin on the Monday of the second full week in November and run through the Monday of the second full week in December of each calendar year.
- A new program, TRICARE Select will replace TRICARE Standard and TRICARE Extra. This change applies to both stateside and overseas. Stateside, TRICARE Select will be a self-managed, preferred provider network option. You don’t need a primary care manager so you can visit any TRICARE- authorized provider for services covered by TRICARE without a referral. Overseas, TRICARE Overseas Select will be a preferred provider organization-styled plan that provides access to both network and non- network TRICARE authorized providers for medically necessary TRICARE covered services. TRICARE Select adopts a number of improvements, including additional preventive care services previously only offered to TRICARE Prime beneficiaries.
- All current TRICARE beneficiaries will be automatically enrolled into plans on January 1st, 2018, as long as you are eligible. TRICARE Prime enrollees will remain in TRICARE Prime. TRICARE Standard and Extra beneficiaries will automatically be enrolled in TRICARE Select.
Remember, this is your benefit – take command! And stay informed with the latest information. In the coming months, more information will be available at www.TRICARE.mil/changes. To stay informed, sign up for email alerts at www.TRICARE.mil/emailalerts. You can also get alerts by signing up for eCorrespondence in milConnect at www.dmdc.osd.mil/milconnect By staying informed, you’ll be ready for a smooth transition with TRICARE.
The above is from the TRICARE Beneficiary Bulletin, an update on the latest news to help you make the best use of your TRICARE benefit. [Source: https://www.tricare.mil/podcast | September 1, 2017]