Military Retirees in many parts of the country will lose one of their health care options this month. If you are retired military or know any military retirees, please share this information with them as soon as possible, while they can still make an informed decision about their medical future.
US Family Health Plan (USFHP) is currently a TRICARE Prime option for military beneficiaries of all ages. Recent changes to the Department of Defense budget has resulted in legislation to change this, however, so that retirees will be forced OUT of this program at age 65. The effective date is August 20, 2012. In Maryland, Johns Hopkins University is the health care provider for USFHP. Johns Hopkins was ranked #1 in the world for over 20 years and is currently ranked #2 in the world, so you can't ask for any better health care than that.
“Anyone whose application for enrollment in US Family Health Plan is received after August 20 of this year will be required to exit the plan when they turn 65,” according to the USFHP Johns Hopkins website.
“This means beneficiaries would not have the choice of US Family Health Plan when they turn 65. Current members and those who apply for enrollment prior to August 20, 2012 will be grandfathered and allowed to remain regardless of age. However, beneficiaries who enroll after the new rules take affect will be forced to leave the plan when they turn 65.”
You can view a 7–minute video on the Johns Hopkins/USFHP website for more information.
65 may seem far away for many military retirees and spouses, but believe me... those birthdays just keep adding up; 65 is probably closer than you want to even think about.
My husband is one of several Crofton residents who have the privilege of presenting healthcare options to military personnel and retirees at various installations throughout the region, so I guess you could say I have the “inside scoop” on this topic. This is what Larry tells me:
1. If you are over 65 now, you can still enroll in USFHP before August 20, 2012.
2. If you are currently under 65, you can enroll now and when you turn 65 you would be able to stay in the plan since you enrolled before the policy change.
3. If you are currently a USFHP member, you do not need to change or do anything because you will be grandfathered in and allowed to remain a member for life!
If you know anyone who is retired military, the eligible surviving spouse of a military retiree, or the spouse of a current active duty member, please encourage them to visit the Johns Hopkins/USFHP website for more information. If they have trouble getting through on the phone, and have questions, call me, and I'll put you in touch with my husband or another military retiree affiliated with USFHP/JHU. They don’t work on commission, they just provide information, and time is running out for you to learn everything you can about this.
To find out about USFHP in other parts of the country, click on USFHP now. It's not a lifetime commitment, so you can sign up for this option before August 20 and change later, if you're so inclined. That will at least give you an opportunity to retain the care in your later years. Don't miss this deadline!