Health care premium increases part of DoD budget cut plan

Friday - 1/7/2011, 4:18pm EST

Increases in military health care premiums are part of the plan to cut $78 billion Defense Department budget. But they will not apply to active duty troops.

Politico's Morning Defense reports that Defense Secretary Gates wanted to raise health care premiums on troops.

Gates said he will propose modest increases to the TRICARE fees for working-age retirees -- not active-duty troops. Gates also said he wants to avoid increasing premiums for active-duty personnel and their families.

Politico reports the current TRICARE enrollment fee was set in 1995 at $460 per year for the basic family plan. It hasn't been raised since. The Secretary says the fees for a comparable health insurance program for federal workers cost roughly $5,000. Health care costs for the Pentagon are expected to hit $65 billion by 2015.

Gates' idea may have a tough time getting through Congress though. Both Democrats and Republicans have been reluctant to raise TRICARE premiums for any military personnel.

This story is part of Federal News Radio's daily DoD Report. For more defense news, click here.