Monday, November 29, 2010

Squeezing the 55-to-64 year olds

The Times reports that Defense Secretary Robert Gates is contemplating cuts to the military's Tricare medical insurance program, only reportedly for retirees who are under 65. The article states that fee hikes would not apply to soldiers on active duty (and presumably their families), nor to military retirees over age 65. That leaves an age range of about 55 to 64, maybe a little wider, given that retirees typically serve 20 years on active duty.

To my knowledge, Tricare for life, the over-65 piece, effectively provides a 100% subsidy of medical care by covering what Medicare does not. To be sure, working military retirees may be a group with greater means and thus more suitable candidates to shoulder the burden of fiscal adjustment. (Yes, you read that correctly; career soldiers typically retire from service and then obtain employment and receive a pension, although their earnings tend to lag those of equivalent nonveterans.)