Pentagon pressed on Northern Nevada health c
STEPHENS WASHINGTON BUREAU
Posted: Nov. 29, 2012 | 2:39 p.m.WASHINGTON - The Senate on Thursday voted to require the Pentagon to report on the future of its managed health care program that is said to be facing cuts in Northern Nevada and several other parts of the country.
The amendment by Sen. Dean Heller, R-Nev., was adopted by voice vote and attached to a defense policy bill the Senate was expecting to complete this week or next week.
It came on the heels of reports this fall that Tricare Prime, one of its health insurance options, would be discontinued in April in parts of rural Nevada, as well as in Oregon, Iowa, Minnesota and Springfield, Mo.
The change has not been announced but The Military Times reported last month that, under new regional care contracts, the affordable managed care option would no longer be made available to certain service members and veterans living beyond 40 miles of a military treatment facility. In Northern Nevada, that is at Fallon Naval Air Station.
Heller and Rep. Mark Amodei, R-Nev., sent inquiries to the Pentagon about potential Tricare Prime changes but had not gotten responses, aides said. Amodei also is preparing legislation on the matter, a spokesman said.
The Senate amendment requires the Pentagon to report within 120 days the areas where Tricare Prime would no longer be available, how much the government would save, and how much more it is expected to cost beneficiaries to shift to the Tricare Standard fee-for-service program.
"Nevada veterans deserve answers from the Department of Defense on any health care changes, and those changes should be justified," Heller said in a statement.