Friday, December 27, 2013

Clearing Things up with a Few Facts #3

And now to move on to the next paragraph where we find another error in this article. Here's the link so you can see I just copied and pasted it right in.

"Active duty military members also get all of their health care for free. Their spouses and children get free care at military treatment facilities. If dependents use a private doctor, dentist or pharmacy, they get the care through the department's TRICARE system, paying no premiums and no co-pays, said Austin Camacho, a system spokesman."

Let's chat about the "free" health care. Did you know if an active duty soldier is sick his first line of medical care is his medic? The line medic (an EMT) will decide where you go from there. But before you go you must have the blessing or your chain of command. And guess what? That soldier is sent to sick hall unless it's an emergency. Guess what? Another medic awaits him at sick hall. Not a doctor, a Senior medic, a seasoned EMT.

If he's lucky he might see a nurse practitioner, physician's assistant or a doctor, but more than likely it will be another medic located across the base at a Troop Medical Clinic. And then once you are deemed sick enough, you'll see someone with prescription privileges to get you the meds you need and it is an all-day affair. But if they can't handle you then you'll go to the ER after you have waited about 6 hours for that decision.

I will say this, I have never met a bad medic. To me they are bad ass and amaze me with their skills. That's your active duty free medical care. Unless they are seriously injured or sick, they will not make their way to a Military Treatment Facility on the base.

The "free" care at the MTFs (military treatment facility) is comprised of military personnel and civilian contractors. Tricare wants everyone to go to a MTFs because the DOD is already paying for those persons to be there and the military personnel need the experience in medical training. The MTFs are the most cost effective for Tricare. Makes total cost-effective sense to me.

Those treatment centers are there for our service members first, then dependents, then retirees. Can we really argue about it? If you send them off-post it will cost more. We have doctors there at the MTFs who signed up to serve the military population by using their education to help the military and their families with their medical needs. If you ask me that's quite amazing. Those persons could go to a civilian hospital and get paid a lot more, but no they are called to serve our military and their families.

And to be honest I want that "free" medical care for our service members to be the best in the world. I can tell you that at Walter Reed it is. The last time I stepped foot into BACH (Campbell's MTF) was when I had an allergic reaction and they were awesome. We should all want our service members to have free access to excellent medical care when they need it. Someone please tell me why we would ever question our military receiving free medical care? If you think they should pay for medical care, you have some serious issues.The very least we can do is make sure to take care of our soldiers' health, since they give so much for us.

Now let's chat about the families "free" medical care. I tried to take advantage of our "free" medical when we were first married. My favorite (sarcasm) doctor was the one who called me fat when I was a whopping 120 lbs. I'll never see that number again. I was 22 and I'm 5' 7" so 120 makes me look like a stick. I laughed when he called me fat. Then I said a few nice words (feel the sarcasm here) and he threatened to get my husband in trouble over my behavior. Well let me assure you things didn't go well for that doctor after that.

I was treated like crap by 3 doctors in a row who were actually civilians and then finally got to a nurse practitioner and doctor who were both military. The awesome Nurse Practitioner got to be the one to tell me the big surprise that we were expecting. He was fabulous and he worked with the awesome doctor who became my OB/GYN. They took excellent prenatal care of Deryn and I while Chaz prepared to go to Korea. Do you know they even contacted the Army to get Chaz's orders at least delayed so he could be there at delivery? Yes they were that awesome.

Time came for me to deliver Deryn. I had my mom by my side because the Army wouldn't let Chaz come home. The doctor who had taken care of me those entire 9 months was not allowed to deliver Deryn because the staff said the Midwife on duty was just fine and they didn't need to bother my OB/GYN.

How about that Midwife made me wait to deliver until after he watched some TV show? How about he almost dropped Deryn? How about he ruptured my placenta and I had to have it extracted? How about he would not let me call Chaz to let him know I was in labor? How about they would not let me talk to my hubby until the baby had stats, because if it didn't make it they would have to issue a different call? How about when he extracted my placenta they reconstructed it on a tray next to my head? How about I was yelled at for saying I was uncomfortable during the extraction? How about a nurse came in in the middle of the night and yelled at me for not being awake and nursing? How about he told me I was selfish and would make a bad mother because I wasn't awake? How about he came in the middle of the night and pulled back my covers "to check my bleeding" without asking?

After our horrible experience, I thought about transferring off post to civilian doctors, but I waited. We officially transferred when the war broke out in Iraq. Why? Because my Nurse Practitioner, OB/GYN and Deryn's doctor all were deployed. I just couldn't start all over again with the civilians that were left behind. I had already seen them and they were rude and hateful and I didn't have the patience for that. So off-post we went. Contrary to this article, we did have co-pays, deductibles and catastrophic gaps just like the other insurance policies out there.

Deryn developed severe asthma when she was 3 and Chaz was in Iraq. Ryann developed almost every type of funky baby illness you can have. Because of the medicines Ryann received when she had developed a staph infection in her umbilical cord at 7 weeks, she was resistant to many medicines that were typically given. We had to think outside the box to help her. Deryn's asthma would not respond to typical treatment so we had to seek new medicines and treatments for her as well. And guess what? I had to pay out of pocket for their meds. Tricare would not cover some of their meds because they were deemed "experimental." They were FDA approved, but not approved through Tricare yet. I only picked up Deryn's meds once a week because they were so expensive and I didn't want to waste money. We didn't know how many treatments she would need so one week at a time made sense. Chaz was only a Sargent at the time and we lived on one income. Did I complain? No because they did pay for some of it and more importantly the medicines were what our children needed and that was the end of the story.

And let's chat about the dental care.....military dependents have always paid for their dental. We have a monthly premium deducted from the service members check every month. And our dental is pretty much useless. It covers cleanings, x-rays and percentages of other things. You basically pre-pay for those services for the company. Once you compare the dependent's dental to other plans you'll see it really is not hing to brag about. And Chaz could only see Army Dentists. If he went to a civilian, it was 100% out of our pocket. The Army Dentists did just fine, but this article makes it seem like Chaz had a choice to do whatever and it was paid for.

The dental plan we have now, we pay an extra $50 per month in comparison to the active duty plan and all four of us have better coverage then what the military offered to us. Let me put it to you this way. Our dental coverage was never something I bragged about. And many dentists wouldn't touch us because of how difficult the provider was. Our dentist is happy that we are on a different plan now. We have better service and his office gets paid faster. It's a win-win on the dental in this house even if it costs us more per month.Oh wait, Chaz can get dental at the VA for free. Ha, that's funny...have you seen the waiting list for VA dental?

Now onto the pharamacy. You want to see how we get our scripts? We do try to go to Ft Campbell to have any recurring meds filled there for free. But sometimes that is not an option. But wait says the spokesman said any pharmacy and we get everything with no co-pays or premiums right?! And if you cannot find a network pharmacy? Wow, free sure does look like it costs money?! But what do I know I've only been doing this since 2001.

I will tell you this we did not pay one dime of Chaz's medical expenses until he retired. We got hit pretty hard with bills in March from his emergency procedures, but that's why we have an emergency fund. Why wouldn't I take him to the VA? Oh we tried but they were full that day and couldn't see him.

On October 1, 2013, the girls and I were forced to Tricare Standard because they adjusted the Prime beneficiary area. And now we pay a lot more as we go. We are paying more for co-pays, deductibles and catastrophic gaps. But since the bill for Ryann's recent MRI was only a smidgen of the actual cost, we will write the check and shut up about it. We would have switched to Standard had we not been forced to. All of our doctors were dropped from Prime on that date. Here's more information on military insurance plans so you can learn more.

Tricare has always been great to us. I will never complain about their services. We have had nothing but great experiences with Tricare. We are very thankful that we have insurance for our family. We will pay our costs and hush about it. Our medical care is NOT FREE!! Want to see the bills? I still have them! Free does not come with bills...just saying. Our medical care is discounted thanks to my husband's service to our country. If the spokesman had said our care was discounted I would not have had any issue, but he said, "Free." Either he said it or his was misquoted. Either way it ticks me off.

Our service members put their lives on the line for their families to have access to Tricare. Our Tricare is paid for in another way. It's paid for by sacrifice and you can even say by blood. I am tired of watching our military being asked to sacrifice again and again. There are other things to cut, so Congress turn your heads away from my heroes and their families. And until you put your medical and benefits on the table then you back off of those who serve at your beck and call.

1 comment:

  1. Well written...thanks for the resources...every Congressman should be required to read this...