Received Jun 25, 2020

From: Jack Walker
Director, RAO Subic,

RE: TRICARE UPDATES

Changes Coming Soon for Some TRICARE Select Retired Beneficiaries

6/22/2020

 

 Please read the entire article with RAO comments at the bottom

 

Starting on Jan. 1, 2021, TRICARE Select Group A retired beneficiaries must pay monthly enrollment fees in order to maintain their TRICARE health coverage. This is a change, and the first time this beneficiary group will pay enrollment  fees.

“In 2021, some TRICARE beneficiaries will pay enrollment fees for the first time, a change mandated by Congress,” said Dr. Danita Hunter, director of the TRICARE Health Plan at the Defense Health Agency. “We’re communicating this well before the change is implemented so beneficiaries can be informed about the change, as well as their TRICARE plan and cost options.”

Here are the key points you need to know.

What’s happening?

Retired TRICARE Select beneficiaries will have to pay enrollment fees. This change was mandated by Congress in the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year October 1 - September 30 2017. Congress granted the Defense Health Agency a delay in implementation to calendar year 2021.

Who’s impacted?

This change only affects Group A If you or your sponsor’s initial enlistment or appointment occurred before January 1, 2018, you are in Group A. retirees and their family members enrolled in TRICARE Select. You’re in Group A if your initial enlistment or appointment or that of your uniformed services sponsor began before Jan. 1, 2018. Active duty family members enrolled in TRICARE Select will experience no change, and won’t pay enrollment fees.

This applies to me. When do I need to take action?

You must set up a monthly allotment through your Department of Defense (DoD) pay center, where feasible, for your monthly payments to start on Jan. 1, 2021. For sponsors who don’t receive funds through a DoD pay center, you can establish payments via electronic funds transfer, credit card, or debit card. Your regional contractor (SOS) will soon issue instructions to set up payment.

What are the 2021 enrollment fees for TRICARE Select Group A retirees?

The enrollment fees will be collected via monthly installments from the sponsor’s military pay system where retired pay is disbursed.

·        Individual plan: $12.50 per month

·        Family plan: $25 per month

How can I stay informed and prepare for this change?

Visit the TRICARE Select Enrollment Fees page on the TRICARE website for updates and sign up for email alerts. TRICARE will inform you of specific actions you need to take in the coming months. Take command of your health and your health care benefits in 2020.

Last Updated 6/23/2020

Don't forget to keep your family's information up-to-date in DEERS.

 

RAO COMMENTS: This is a change in name only. They are now calling this an enrollment fee. Currently it is called a deductable. With this “change” you will be required to pay on a monthly basis up front. Currently you pay the deductable when you use TRICARE, either when you use the service, and pay the provider upfront and the deductable is subtracted, or when you seek reimbursement for your payment, It is deducted from your reimbursement. The amount is exactly the same for the deductable as the enrollment. The only true change is effective 2021, you will pay “enrollment fee’s” whether you use the service or not. Your cost share is not changing in conjunction with this announcement, but there is an indication the catastrophic cap will increase to $3500.00. TRICARE for LIFE, is a TRICARE SELECT program. So this is also effective for those in that program.

As soon as the enrollment period for the allotments or other methods of payment are announced we will publish them. It will likely be an allotment you can start via “MYPAY” through DFAS. You may be well advised to ensure your “MYPAY” account is in a valid status now, to forego any problems when the enrollment period begins. Here is some additional guidance from the TRICARE SELECT ENROLLMENT FEES WEBSITE “ 

 

What Do I Need to Do?

Later this summer, you’ll be asked to set up a monthly enrollment fee premium payment. If you:

·        Get your retirement or other pay from a military pay center, then you’ll pay your TRICARE Select fees via a monthly allotment.

·        Don’t get your retired pay through a military pay center, then you’ll pay your fees by a recurring credit or debit card transaction. You can also pay your monthly fees though electronic funds transfer (EFT). Your EFT must be from a U.S. bank.

What Happens if I Don’t Take Action?

You’ll be disenrolled from TRICARE Select for failure to pay enrollment fees on Jan. 1, 2021. You’ll have 90 days from your last paid through date to request reinstatement. You must contact your regional contractor to request reinstatement.

 

1.  If you are currently enrolled in TRICARE Prime, you should contact SOS to change your enrollment category. You are not qualified at this time for TRICARE in the Philippines. (Google TRICARE SOS for the toll free contact number). If you are not sure of the category you are enrolled in, or not sure if you are enrolled in TRICARE at all, please contact SOS to check or change.

2.  To make changes to your DEERS account you should go to the MILCONNECT Website.

3.  It is anticipated there will be questions/comments regarding this announcement. You should direct them to SOS. We are simply the messenger. Non constructive comments on email will not be forwarded to SOS and will be deleted. Thank you for your service and sacrifices and please stay safe!

Jack Walker

Received Jun 3, 2020

From: Jack Walker
Director, RAO Subic,

RE:Forwarded from PRA

Dear Valued PRA Members,

Greetings!

Please be advised that PRA CSSO Office located at the Azzurro Hotel, Angeles City will still be closed up to May 31, 2020 or until further notice under the Modified Enhanced Community Quarantine (MECQ) as part of the government's  precautionary measure against the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID19).

May we request you to like our PRA Central Luzon page as we post our events, updates and activities on the said medium. You are suggested to be updated on the developments on how we could cope up following The New Normal.

There will be scheduled webinars that you may view or attend to.

For those with pending Servicing requests or expiring PRA IDs, please do not worry, as the government esp PRA will be giving special considerations to unprocessed and unattended obligations due to our current situations.

To those who were stranded outside the country, please wait until a directive will be issued that shall allow foreign residents and travelers to enter the country.

We shall keep on reminding everyone  to remain calm during this trying times of worldwide pandemic.

For urgent concerns, please email pra.clarksubic@gmail.com or contact us directly via telephone number 0917-8553811.

Please keep safe and follow the government protocols.

Thank you for your usual support and cooperation.   

Kind regards,

 

Sky Lachica

Mara Dela Cruz

Shylle Echipare

Nino Sicat

Received Jun 3, 2020

From: Jack Walker
Director, RAO Subic

Good morning, just want to update everyone, regarding the Mobile mailroom and outgoing mail services, as the office is not yet able to open.

As you know we have been getting the mail and meds out through the Mobile Mailroom program. If you get mail or meds and you have provided us with updated contact information and address, we will make contact and arrange a meet up with one of our staff. We are now adding outgoing mail and dues payment to the program.

Here's how it works; If you have outgoing mail you have 3 options for getting it to us.

1. If you are able to make it to Baretto, we will have a mail shoot in the grilled section on the left hand side of the front of the building, you can drop your mail through. It will be emptied at the end of each day by security. Your mail can either be already stamped, or you can drop it unstamped and we will place appropriate postage on it and place an invoice in your mailbox for payment.

2. If you cannot get to Baretto, or prefer to hand it off in person, you may TEXT one of our staff to get info on where and when they will be in your area, so you can give outgoing mail or pay dues.

Caution: the contact numbers listed below are for texting regarding outgoing mail meet up schedule or paying dues, NO CALLS. Texts regarding questions relating to "do I have mail, or when will RAO open,  will not receive a response". Calls of the same nature will get the response, " I am not sure if you have mail" or we are not sure"

The staff are very busy preparing the mail for delivery and distribution, and time spent on frivolous calls or texts take away from that. Please don't abuse the service. Your number will be blocked from future calls or texts.

Olongapo proper-- Mehl = 0933 330 2961

Barrio Baretto------ Jeff=     0933 593 4220

SawMill/San Isidro/Santa Monica--- Marey= 0932 519 7248

Subic-------- Terry=   0999 184 8747

Castellejos/San Marcellino/San Antonio/San Narciso----- Mercy  0915  479  6489

SBMA- Morong----------Jack = 047 603 0764 (this is a landline sim cell you can call or text to.)

3. For those located in areas the staff cannot reach, you can call Jack for instructions on sending your outgoing mail via courier.

 

In a recent email  we notified you that our Facebook page had changed address. Some have had difficulty in finding it, so to simplify the process here's a link to it you can just click to get to it. Please save it to your bookmarks for faster log in. Also when you do get on, please like or follow. We use this media along with our Web site and emails to keep you up to date with news on the RAO and information of interest to our Vets and families in the Philippines, and to communicate with you if you have a question. Please if you can still get on our old page, dont leave comments or ask questions as we cannot view or answer them. If you have a question please read our posts before asking it, you will likely find your answer is already there. Thank you for your continued support.

https://www.facebook.com/RAO-SUBIC-BAY-111347250599771  

Jack Walker

Received May 30, 2020

From: Jim Boyd
Director, RAO Angeles City

EFFECTIVE 01 JUNE 2020, OUR RAO/FPO OPERATING HOURS AT 1925 NACARTHUR HIGHWAY BALIBAGO  WILL BE FROM 0930-1330HRS DAILY MON - FRI EXCEPT HOLIDAYS..THE MAIL  SERVICES YOU NORMALLY RECEIVE AT OUR RAO ANNEX AT VFW POST 2485 WILL BE AT OUR MACARTHUR HIGHWAY RAO/FPO OFFICE UNTIL FUTHER NOTICE (SAME SERVICE WITH SAME PERSON)….. 

 

 

 

        JIM BOYD, RAO DIRECTOR

         CLARK AIR BASE REGION

Received June 1, 2020

From: Jack Walker
Director, RAO Subic

Jack Walker informs us that their Facebook Page has apparently been hacked, so a new Facebook Page was created. Jack urges us to NOT go to the original RAO Facebook Page, but the new one. LOOK for the yellow logo on the top left of this article to insure you are on the NEW Facebook Page at : https://www.facebook.com/RAO-SUBIC-BAY-111347250599771

Received May 29, 2020

From: Jack Walker
Director, RAO Subic

Hi, just wanted to update everybody on our status and also send the latest from VA.

As Olongapo is continuing in GCQ, and their rules regarding workers to be Olongapo residents, we are still unable to reopen. Please dont come to the office. Hoping that will change if we go into MGCQ on the 15 of June. We continue to operate our Mobile Mailroom, so you will continue to get your mail and meds.You need to be sure we have a current contact number for you so we can call and arrange to meet to get your mail to you. If you have not sent an email please do so now. Please dont assume we have your number as many have changed since you first joined the rao. Those living in areas north of San Antonio or in Bataan, we will contact you and send via courier, unless your community is not permitting deliveries.This also applies to our distant members. We also are taking out going mail and I will shortly send that info out on a separate email. Basically we will publish a schedule for when you can meet with our staff and give them your outgoing. For all our other services which dont require VA, SSA or ACS assistance you can either call or email me at this email or cell 047-603-0764. Please be safe, we want to see your smiling faces when we open the doors!

 

From VA...

VA MANILA OUTPATIENT CLINIC
ANNOUNCEMENTS AND REMINDERS

May 29, 2020

Important Updates from VA Manila

Good afternoon from VA Manila.

I wanted to take a few minutes to share important updates about VA Manila’s scheduled operations for the month of June.

VA Manila Outpatient Clinic Operations:

1. As I mentioned in my last email update on May 17, the VA Manila Outpatient Clinic will remain closed for scheduled and walk-in health care appointments through July 5, 2020. We hope to begin to resume limited in person appointments on July 6, 2020, but this date is subject to change. Do not travel to Manila for any scheduled medical appointments between now and July 5. There are no doctors who are currently reporting to the Clinic who would be able to see you in person.

2. VA Manila will be temporarily providing telephone based primary care and mental health appointments. Veterans who had primary care or mental health appointments scheduled between May 22 and July 3, 2020, should expect to proceed with their scheduled appointment by telephone. A VA staff person will attempt contact you before your appointment to confirm your scheduled appointment time and ensure VA Manila has a good contact number for your doctor to reach you at. If you would prefer to reschedule your appointment for a face-to-face clinic visit when the OPC reopens, please advise the VA Manila staff person at that time. All specialty care appointments, such as Orthopedics, Audiology, and Cardiology, will remain cancelled until we resume in-person operations.

3. VA Manila’s Outpatient Pharmacy continues to process medication refills. Veterans can request prescription refills through the Automated Pharmacy Refill Line (#MyVA, Option 8), or online at MyHealtheVet Pharmacy Portal. Currently, most areas of the Philippines are served by either Air21 or LBC for medication deliveries, although some delays should be expected.

4. Veterans with medical questions should continue to contact your providers via Secure Messenger on MyHealtheVet. Unfortunately, because the OPC is closed, we do not have staff available to answer incoming calls. Secure Messenger is the fastest way to get help. You can also email the Clinic Manager if you have issues or concerns, at daniel.gutkoski2@va.gov.
VA Manila Regional Office Operations:

Although the Inter Agency Task Force has recommended changing the status for the National Capital Region to General Community Quarantine as of June 1, 2020, the VBA Manila Regional Office will remain closed until June 15, 2020. While VA Manila is closed, this does not mean that your claims are not being worked; the rest of the VBA Regional Offices in the US are still working, and VA Manila’s workload has been transferred to other offices during this period. The fastest and easiest way to interact with VBA’s claims process is by sending evidence to our Evidence Intake Center. It is not advisable to send evidence or claims paperwork to our local address. The address of the Janesville, WI, Center is included as an attachment to every letter we send to Veterans, and is as follows:
Department of Veterans Affairs
Evidence Intake Center
P.O. Box 4444
Janesville, WI, 53547-4444
Fax: 844-531-7818
Veterans can continue to get information about benefits or file a claim for benefits by visiting our website at www.va.gov. Veterans with claim-specific or other questions may request information via Inquiry Routing & Information System (IRIS) https://iris.custhelp.va.gov or by calling the National Call Centers at 1-800-827-1000 as the Call Centers in the US remain open (US Time Zones Apply) and are a great way to provide simple claims information (e.g.: dependency verification.).
Another good source of information for Veterans who reside outside of the continental united states is the VA OCONUS Connection bulletin. You can access the latest bulletin by clicking on this link, https://content.govdelivery.com/accounts/…/bulletins/282f3e5 If you wish to continue receiving this bulletin, there is a “Subscribe here” button at the bottom of the page.

Updates from the US Embassy:

Health Alert - U.S. Embassy Manila (May 29, 2020)
Location: The Philippines
Event: Special May 31 Flight to JFK International Airport, New York City

U.S. Citizens and U.S. Lawful Permanent Residents in the Philippines: Philippine Airlines (PAL) still has seats available for a flight departing Manila for JFK International Airport in New York City on Sunday, May 31. Call the special PAL hotline at 02-8855-1000 between 8:00 a.m. and 8:00 p.m. to buy your ticket. Please have your credit card and passport details readily available prior to calling. Please be patient, as PAL has a limited number of staff available to answer calls due to the quarantine restrictions in Manila. Do not call the Embassy for booking or ticketing.

Economy tickets are USD $1,378 (plus taxes and fees). Premium Economy is USD $1,807 (plus taxes and fees) and Business is USD $3,218 (plus taxes and fees).

This a morning flight, so there will NOT be any sweeper flights. If you are interested in this flight, call the PAL hotline TODAY.

Assistance:
U.S. Embassy in the Philippines
1201 Roxas Boulevard
+63(2) 5301-2000, from 7:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Monday through Friday
After-hours emergency number for U.S. citizens is +(63)(2) 5301-2000.

Remembering Memorial Day 2020

I would be remiss if I also didn’t take this opportunity to reflect on Memorial Day. Under normal circumstances, VA and members of the Embassy community would have gathered at the American Cemetery in Manila and at Clark Veterans Cemetery in Pampanga to honor and commemorate the thousands of Americans who made the ultimate sacrifice in service to our Nation. As many of you know, this year marks the 75th anniversary of the end of World War 2, with many of the US military losses occurring right here in the Philippines. While the COVID pandemic didn’t allow us to gather together in person, both the US Ambassador to the Philippines, Sung Y. Kim, and Major General Delfin Lorenzana, Secretary of National Defense for the Republic of the Philippines offered their remarks virtually. So I wanted to take a second to share their message, which is available on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=80CcnbfiuRQ.

As always, I hope you and your family are healthy and safe. If VA Manila can assist with anything, you are always welcome to contact me directly: daniel.gutkoski2@va.gov. We look forward to resuming our normal operations in the coming weeks and welcoming Veterans back to your VA soon.