Military Retirees Spread News About Benefits

Military retirees who lobbied for better medical benefits are busy spreading the good news about improvements in their health coverage.

Congress adopted several changes that impact Medicare eligible retirees and their spouses.

Floyd Sears passed out brochures and shared information from a poster outside the commissary at Keesler Air Force Base.

"We're advertising, not promoting. We're letting that document speak for itself," said Sears.

He joined several other retirees in passing out information about the upcoming changes in health care coverage.

"The benefits will improve. And it's for the Medicare eligible military retirees, what we are advertising today."

The new plan adds pharmacy benefits and will let the military's Tri Care insurance become the "second payer" for those retirees eligible for Medicare.

Sears explained the basic coverage changes while pointing to his poster board.

"The ABC's of what it's all about. Medicare Part "A" and "B". Plus the Tri Care Benefits. Plus a pharmacy benefit. All translating into Tri Care for life."

A group of military retirees launched a campaign for improved benefits some three years ago. Now that Congress has approved adding certain benefits, the challenge for those retirees is to help get the word out.

Air Force Television taped a segment as the retirees passed out their brochures and told others about the health care plan. Such publicity will mean more awareness for those who may be eligible.

"But the main thing we're trying to get the word out right now is to widows and retirees and what they have to do to get involved. And we're asking even those to make phone calls to other people to make sure they're aware of it," said retiree, Jim Whittington.

They have a few more weeks to get the word out. The first changes in benefits will begin April 1st.

Retirees eligible for the new benefits need to do two things. First, they should update their DEER information. That stands for Defense Enrollment Eligibility Reporting System. Second, eligible retirees should enroll in Medicare Part "B" if they haven't already.