With the United States looking to cut costs in its federal budget, one of the most controversial proposals has been fee hikes to some TRICARE customers. Despite the pushback, Deputy Defense Secretary Ashton Carter says that while it is a tough call to make, the fee hike may be a necessary move, according to Military.com.
Carter was speaking at the American Enterprise Institute and said that military healthcare costs need to be addressed as the Pentagon looks to shave billions off its operating costs. Currently, healthcare makes up about 10 percent of the Department of Defense (DoD) budget. Carter's words come after the Pentagon rejected any proposed fee hikes several weeks ago.
"We need these savings," he told the audience, according to the website. "This is a difficult step to take, but it's an important one."
At issue is a plan proposed by the DoD that would raise enrollment fees and deductibles for working-age military retirees. Additionally, there would be income-based enrollment fees for TRICARE Prime and TRICARE for Life, according to Navy Times.