AFSA HQ Newsletter – May 17th

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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LEGISLATIVE & OTHER NEWS

113th Congress; 1st Session; Week of May 20-24, 2013

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

H.R 1971, the “Keep Faith with TRICARE Prime Act”

As previously reported by AFSA, the new TRICARE service contracts (T-3) only required TRICARE Prime service areas around Military Treatment Facilities (MTF) and Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) sites.  As a result, beginning October 1, TRICARE Prime will no longer will be available for up to 171,000 beneficiaries who live more than 40 miles from a military hospital, clinic, or base closure site.  They do retain TRICARE coverage under Standard or Extra plans but along with it, comes higher out-of-pocket expenses.

Access to TRICARE Prime for these individuals could soon be restored if one lawmaker gets his way.  On May 14, Representative John Kline (R-MN) introduced H.R 1971, the “Keep Faith with TRICARE Prime Act” which would allow those affected to make a one-time election to continue in Prime so long as they do not move.  AFSA concurs with Representative Kline who says, “Promises made should be promises kept and the Pentagon should not break faith with our nation’s heroes.”  His legislation would reduce the immediate impact imposed by the new DoD policy by allowing military retirees and their families to make informed decisions on how to best utilize their earned military health care benefits.

Financial Storm Dissipating

AFSA previously reported on three major fiscal issues coming together to form the proverbial “perfect storm.”  The continuing resolution has been extended to the end of FY13.  Sequestration, although components of it have been debated or amended, has still been put into action.  And the last piece, the debt ceiling, has been resolved…at least for now.

Originally projected to be reached in February, actions were taken to push it back to May 18.  Now, with the government spending less (sequestration) and revenue in the billions expected from Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the debt ceiling is not forecasted to be reached until after Labor Day.

We have a tempered appreciation for this development.  On one hand we can get back to business on “normal” issues/processes that could have otherwise been trumped by surpassing the debt ceiling.  On the other hand, having a government exceed its borrowing as FY13 winds down and FY14 ramps up could prove troublesome.

Rest assured, AFSA will be paying close attention to any developments.

Marking up a Congressional Bill

Taken directly from the Senate web page, a markup is defined as “the process by which congressional committees and subcommittees debate, amend, and rewrite proposed legislation.”  Process-wise, it translates to the last steps of reviewing or revising the language of a bill before it gets voted on.

Next week, House Armed Services Subcommittees will begin marking up its version of the FY 2014 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA).  This annual bill sets spending priorities for the Pentagon and establishes policy for important personnel programs like pay and healthcare.  The full Armed Services Committee plans to address the bill by June 5 with a goal of having it on the House floor one week later.  Even now, your AFSA advocates are on Capitol Hill working to shore up support for a full 1.8% military pay raise as well as resisting higher TRICARE premiums and fees.  Our plan, work right up to the moment of decision at each stage of the process to secure a favorable outcome for our members.

USAF Guidance on Attending AFSA Conference

AFSA’s annual International Convention is August 24-28, 2013 in San Antonio, Texas.  Air Force officials provide the following guidance regarding the use of government funding and application of permissive TDY status in conjunction with this event:

“Due to fiscal constraints and current sequestration guidance from Headquarters Air Force, personnel may not attend this conference at government expense.  The Air Force-hosted events normally held in conjunction with the AFSA conference will not be held this year.  However, AFI 36-3003, Military Leave Program, Table 7, Rule 22, authorizes commanders to approve attendance at the AFSA conference in a permissive temporary duty (PTDY) status if there is a legitimate professional connection.  Conference fees are a personal expense for those attending in PTDY status, as well as those who obtain approval to attend in their personal (leave) capacity.”

A copy of the official letter received by AFSA can be found here.  Please direct all questions or concerns to AFSA HQ at (301) 899-3500.

AFSA POLL STILL OPEN

What’s Important to You?

To get a better sense of how to answer this question, we’ve created an informal Poll on CapWiz so you can tell us what you value the most. We’ve created a list on a number of benefits that AFSA hears is important to you.  While all have value, help us dial in on what is most important by prioritizing your top 10.  Use the tabs on the AFSA web page or just click here.

LEADERSHIP THOUGHTS

From Colin Powell (former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and Secretary of State) as compiled by Oren Harari.

“Have fun in your command. Don’t always run at a breakneck pace. Take leave when you’ve earned it: Spend time with your families. Corollary: surround yourself with people who take their work seriously, but not themselves, those who work hard and play hard.”

Herb Kelleher of Southwest Air and Anita Roddick of The Body Shop would agree: seek people who have some balance in their lives, who are fun to hang out with, who like to laugh (at themselves, too) and who have some non-job priorities which they approach with the same passion that they do their work. Spare me the grim workaholic or the pompous pretentious “professional;” I’ll help them find jobs with my competitor.

AFSA MEMBER BENEFITS

AFSA Insurance – Life & Health

For information and applications on any of these insurance plans please contact Marsh Affinity Group Services toll-free at (800) 882-5541, or online here.  Please note; coverage may vary or not be issued in all States.

  • Accidental Death & Dismemberment Insurance Plan
  • Cancer Expense Insurance
  • Group Dental Insurance
  • Long-Term Care Insurance
  • Short-Term Recovery Insurance Plan
  • TRICARE Supplement Insurance
  • Life Line Health Screenings

Air Force Times: AFSA Subscription Discount

Don’t miss this special subscription offer! Order the Air Force Times at $39.95 for the year. A savings of 76% off the cover price, and the Air Force Times will send $5 to AFSA on your behalf — and send to you – two free gifts! Order online here or call (800) 368-5718. [Please advise the AF Times that you are an AFSA member.]

Flowers from FTD.com

AFSA members can automatically save 15 percent on floral and gift purchases by shopping here, or by calling (800) SEND-FTD and giving promo code 4578.

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.

MOVING?

Please keep AFSA informed of your new mailing address to facilitate timely receipt of your magazine. Easy to do, just call us at 1-800-6380594 or email staff@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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