USFHP Member Minutes Profile
U.S. Air Force Senior Master Sgt. William “Bill” Ashley, Retired
William “Bill” Ashley enlisted in the U.S. Air Force two weeks before he graduated from his Houston-area high school in 1965. He went on to serve 20 years in the Air Force until his retirement on August 31, 1985 as a senior master sergeant.
Ashley’s service tenure spanned several jobs – including seven years as an air traffic controller – and included two tours with distinction in Vietnam. Ashley served as a load master, working aboard several different Air Force cargo and transport aircraft.
Ashley’s military service afforded him the opportunity to attend the Community College of the Air Force, Barry University in Miami, and the University of Houston where he earned a master’s degree. He also met his wife while serving and now has two daughters and three grandchildren.
“Since I’ve left the military, I’ve had a multitude of jobs. I’ve been blessed in the sense that health insurance hasn’t had to be an issue, because it was with me and it’s always been with me. The US Family Health Plan has been a vital part of that,” Ashley says.
Nearly 20 years ago, Ashley joined the US Family Health Plan through Houston-based member organization, CHRISTUS Health. Through US Family Health Plan’s patient-centered approach to health care, Ashley enjoys reliable access to care that is tailored to his needs and personal preferences.
“Accessing care has been great,” he says. “Care has always been available for me. If I need an appointment I can pick up the phone or go online to use the online portal. I don’t like to take a lot of medicine, and so whenever I receive care, one of things I ask is for something I can do that doesn’t involve additional medicine. I am given the opportunity to try other things other than getting drugs to prevent [illness].”
The TRICARE Prime benefit Ashley receives through the US Family Health Plan allows him to see a regular doctor that he chose years ago when joining the plan – a valued option after seeing numerous doctors during his time in the military.
“I like the idea of having my doctor, and I got to choose my doctor, and I’ve been with her ever since. I get an annual physical, my doctor remembers things, and she brings those up and makes sure they are taken care of. When my father passed away, she remembered why he died, and she started checking me for the same things, so things like that are important.”
Ashley appreciates the consistency in care he receives through the US Family Health Plan and the awareness he has developed for his own health care needs through the relationship he has with his doctor.
“If the US Family Health Plan disappeared, it would mean I would lose my doctor of 20 years,” Ashley says. “I have security in my health needs, and I know how to take care of them and navigate that. I would love to stay with what I’ve grown accustomed to and love. I have never considered leaving US Family Health Plan. It’s been a part of my life since I left the military, and I don’t see that changing.”
Ashley is also grateful for the support the US Family Health Plan has given to his church ministry, Windsor Village, in connecting with Houston-area veterans and assisting them with health care, education and housing.
“The US Family Health Plan has sponsored several of our programs, and they have come together to answer questions and help veterans that are in need,” he says. “I really, really do appreciate it, because one of things I’ve found is veterans are hard to bring into the fold, and with help like we were getting from them, it just makes a big difference. Veterans need to be taken care of.”
Bill Ashley is among nearly 150,000 US Family Health Plan members nationwide who enjoy access to quality healthcare with top-rated patient satisfaction through six regional member organizations offering the TRICARE Prime benefit. To learn more about US Family Health Plan, watch the interview above or explore the rest of our website.