Legislative Updates-Jan 2020
by Vice President Michael P. Hughes, OSC, USNR (ret)
The FY 2020 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) signed into law by the President on December 20, 2019. Following is an overview of some of the important changes and initiatives of interest:
Pay Raise- Active Duty and Guard and Reserve
members received a 3.1 % pay raise on January 1, 2020. Retirees and survivors received a 1.6% cost-of-living adjustment (COLA). Consolidation of the Commissary and Exchange Programs- A report is due to Congress by June 1, 2020 on plans to consolidate these programs.
Record of Service for Reserves-
Requires establishment and implementation of a record of service for Reserves by September 30, 2020. It requires a summary of a member's service, including dates of active service.
Survivor Benefit Plan-Dependency and Indemnity Compensation (SBP-DIC)-
Begin a 3-year phase out on January 1, 2021 of the SBP-DIC offset, also known as the Widows Tax. It reduces the offset by one-third each year, with full implementation by January 1. 2023.
TRICARE RESERVE SELECT (TRS)- Federal employees who also serve in a reserve component will be allowed to purchase TRS, removing the current restriction. Note: This doesn't go into effect until January 1, 2030. Although there were no new TRICARE increases in this bill, there are some previously scheduled increases to be aware of that took effect January 1, 2020 :
Enrollment fees for retirees who entered the service prior to January 1, 2018-
Prime for a Single went from $297 to $300 and from $594 to $600 for a Family. There was no increase for Select for this group.
Enrollment fees for retirees who entered service after January 1, 2018-
Prime- Increases from $360 Single and $720 Family to $366 and $732 respectively. Select-Increases from $462 Single and $924 Family to $471 and $942 respectively.
Retail Pharmacy Fees
-Increased to $13 for a 30 day supply of generics, $33 for a brand.
name and $60 for a non-formulary prescription. Up from $11, $28 and $53 respectively.
Mail Order Pharmacy Fees-
Increased to $10 for a 90 day supply of generics, $29 for brand name and $60 for non-formulary. Up from $7, $24 and $60 respectively.
Note: There is no fee for 30 day generics and brand name drugs from a Military Treatment Facility (MTF). Non-formulary prescriptions are typically not available at a MTF. Active duty families are still exempt from TRICARE enrollment fees.
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