AFSA HQ Newsletter – January 18th

This newsletter is produced and released on a weekly basis by AFSA HQ. To read the full newsletter, as well as archived entries, visit the AFSA On Call Newsletter section of www.hqafsa.org.

LEGISLATIVE UPDATES

113th Congress; 1st Session

  • Senate: Recessed – contact lawmakers via state offices
  • House: In Session – contact legislators via DC offices
  • Capwiz: open 24/7/365 – communicate with Congress at any time on any subject

Bill Mulligan

No, we’re not referring to an Irish Pub.  When the 112th Congress adjourned sine die on January 3rd, it signaled the end of all legislative efforts for that Congress.  Any and all bills that we were tracking or working to get passed into law no longer exist.  Now, all the bills have to start the process over…or as in golf, take a mulligan.  So far the 113th Congress has introduced over 300 bills and resolutions, but here’s a quick synopsis of the bills reintroduced that match up to AFSA’s platform:

  • HR 32 – Joe Wilson (R-SC), repeals the SBP-DIC offset
  • HR 42 – Michelle Bachmann (R-MN), freezes TRICARE rates thru 2016
  • HR 303 – Gus Bilirakis (R-FL), permits expansion of concurrent receipt

JCS Address SASC on Budget

While it’s common for them to be called upon for testimony, it is a rare occasion when the Joint Chiefs of Staff will author a letter to Congress.  However, given the fiscal concerns on the horizon the top military leaders felt obligated to let the Chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee know what is contributing to their general angst.  The January 14th letter to Senator Carl Levin (D-NV) was signed by all seven members of the JCS.  In it they discuss Sequestration, the 2013 Defense Budget Continuing Resolution, potential furlough of 800,000 defense civilians, and how they all affect training and readiness of the nation’s forces.  AFSA agrees that while the budget is of obvious importance, the ability to execute the national security interests is paramount in priority.

Making Rounds

Over the last week your Military & Government Relations team met with vice presidents or CEO’s of three different health care industry companies.  The general conversation centered on budgetary concerns and how they relate to issues like the recent Doc-Fox, TRICARE fees, future NDAA’s, and where we should expect to see action with this Congress.

The first two meetings were private efforts by AFSA, but in the last meeting we were with a number of our TMC partners as well as the CEO, COO, Chief of Staff and a Vice President of United Healthcare – the future TRICARE managed care contractor for the West region.  We were presented with details on how the transition is going on details from infrastructure to data transfer to continuity of care…and everything in between.  United Healthcare is obviously putting forth great efforts to ensure TRICARE beneficiaries enjoy a seamless transition for their April 1st takeover.

AFSA looks at any contractor change much like a second wedding.  DoD got “divorced” from TriWest (outgoing contractor) and the “bride to be” is United Healthcare.  The date for the “wedding” is April 1, 2013.  There’s an enormous amount of effort going into this one, but in the end, a wedding is a single day event.  AFSA (your “family”) is highly   interested in  this  marriage – Why,   because we want this long term relationship to work and all the “kids” (you, the beneficiaries) taken care of for years to come.

Wal-Mart to Hire Veterans

The mega-chain’s CEO recently made one of the largest pledges in history: Wal-Mart will look to hire 100,000 veterans over the next five years.  Initial reports indicate this applies to those honorably discharged in the last 12 months.  The move would double Wal-Mart’s current veteran population and is expected to kick off on Memorial Day, May 27, 2013.  Full details are still forthcoming (like types of positions, hours, and wages) but given the company’s standing in the corporate world, one would hope other companies follow their example.

VA Partners With Ancestry.com

VA has partnered with the internet-based genealogy research firm Ancestry.com to bring burial records from historic national cemetery ledgers into the digital age.  The effort will make the collection (predominantly of Civil War interments) accessible to researchers and Ancestry.com subscribers undertaking historical and genealogical research.  You can read all about it here.

AFSA MEMBER BENEFITS

Insurance: Property & Casualty

Protect what’s important to you with affordable insurance from USAA.  USAA offers top-rated coverage at low rates.  Combine that with award-winning service — in fact, USAA was ranked one of Business Week’s top two “Customer Service Champs” the last four years in a row.  To make it easy for you, you can do it all online — quote, buy, print ID cards, and much more.  Call USAA at (800) 531-8722 or go online here.

Discount Prescription Card

AFSA members & dependents have a Prescription Discount Benefit. Cut your prescription costs up to 20% on brand-name drugs and save as much as 50% on generic medicines with the RxAmerica program. To print your prescription card click here, select “wellness”, then choose “RX America Prescription Plan”.

Bellevue University $500 AFSA Grant

Bellevue University offers AFSA members a $500 military grant to attend Bellevue University as part of our Military Partners program.  Bellevue University will also waive the application fee and provide a Personalized Degree Plan for each student.  To apply for the grant, please click here and select “AFSA” as your military partner.  For more information, contact our prior service enrollment team at 866-676-3614 or at military@bellevue.edu.

Over 20 Other Items of Interest

For a complete and detailed listing of the many benefits to AFSA membership, go to the AFSA webpage and click on the left menu listing “Member Benefits” or just click here.

FROM THE FIELD

What’s On Your Mind?

Is there a particular area of interest you think we should be covering in more detail?  Is there a political situation or definition that we could explain, educate or expound upon that would be beneficial to our membership?  Fill in the blanks…

“I THINK AFSA SHOULD __________.”  Send inputs to: afsaoc@hqafsa.org.


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This newsletter is produced and released on a weekly basis by AFSA HQ. To read the full newsletter, as well as archived entries, visit the AFSA On Call Newsletter section of www.hqafsa.org.

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