Statement from US Family Health Plan Alliance Chief Executive Officer Henry J. “Jim” Schweiter, and David Howes, President and Chief Executive Officer of Martin’s Point Health Care and chairman of the Alliance Board of Directors, regarding the recently released fiscal year 2015 defense budget request, as it relates to military health care.
“Yesterday the Department of Defense proposed a budget that would combine several TRICARE plans, including TRICARE Prime, into a new Consolidated Health Plan. We look forward to learning the details of the plan in the coming weeks and to working in partnership with the Department of Defense as it moves to shape the future of the Defense Health System. Although on the surface it would seem that efficiencies could be gained from this proposal, we have several significant concerns, including potentially higher out of pocket expenses for beneficiaries, less focus on wellness and preventive medicine, and reduced access to care. The US Family Health Plans have provided cost effective and accessible high quality health care and continuity of care for more than 30 years to military families, and we want to continue to serve in the years ahead.”
“Although DOD’s goal of recapturing patients at its military treatment facilities is laudable, unfortunately deployments and other systemic limitations are likely to reduce the prospects for success of this effort,” said David Howes. “We encourage the Department to work collaboratively with industry on a plan that could work for everyone in controlling costs while beneficiaries receive high quality care.”
“Service members and their families already make tremendous sacrifices for our country,” noted Schweiter. “We owe it to them to do everything we can to ensure they continue to receive the best health care the Defense Health System can provide. I look forward to working with Congress and officials in the Pentagon to make sure the TRICARE benefit is not degraded,” Schweiter said.
About the US Family Health Plan
The US Family Health Plan (www.usfhp.com) is among the health care choices for eligible beneficiaries of the Department of Defense’s TRICARE Prime program. Health care is provided to active-duty family members, including activated National Guard and Reserve family members, and retirees and their family members. Care is provided through large, local civilian health care networks of primary care physicians, hospitals and affiliated specialists. Patients choose a primary physician who provides and coordinates care and referrals to specialists and hospitals. The US Family Health Plan Alliance is the association that represents the collective interests of the regional USFHP networks in interactions with Congress, the Department of Defense, and the private sector.