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TRICARE Dental Changes

TRICARE Dental: Frustrations Continue With New Network Changes

May 25, 2017

We asked you to tell us your thoughts about the new United Concordia TRICARE Dental Program (TDP) contract. And we heard you loud and clear: you’re not happy. With TRICARE, contract changes are a fact of life and there is always some level of discontent with those changes. We have been vigorously working on this issue for your military family. So what’s the real problem here? There are two parties responsible for the quality of the TRICARE Dental Program benefit. The Defense Health Agency (DHA) is responsible for procurement and …

Increased Health Care Fees 360px

Military Families Will Pay More Money for Healthcare…Again.

May 24, 2017

It’s no surprise that more than a decade of war has led the military to sacrifice readiness levels, including those requirements that would modernize our force. But how will the Department of Defense (DoD) fix the problem? The DoD wants military families and retirees to pay more money for healthcare. That’s right. It’s not enough that our service members have provided the manpower for more than a decade of conflict—some serving multiple combat tours, sustaining life-altering injuries, even dying in uniform. Now, the Do…

2018 Proposed Budget 360px

DoD: Military Members Will Pay for Their Own Readiness

May 24, 2017

On May 23, the Trump Administration released its budget proposal for FY 2018, which will begin on October 1. The budget includes proposed funding levels for every government agency, including the Department of Defense (DoD), and reflects the policies and priorities of the new Administration. As expected, the budget proposal includes significant increases for the DoD—a total of $639 billion, which is $54 billion more than was requested for this year. The increased spending reflects widespread concern that 15 years of war and a sustained h…

TRICARE Mental Health

NMFA Continues to Monitor Mental Health Networks During TRICARE Contract Transition

May 18, 2017

Many thanks to military families for alerting us to concerns about TRICARE’s mental health provider network. As many of you know, TRICARE’s managed care support contracts will transition on January 1, 2018. Health Net will administer the West Region while Humana will manage the East Region (a combination of the current TRICARE North and South Regions.) Military families in the East Region contacted our Association with concerns about mental health providers leaving the TRICARE network due to reduced reimbursement rates. We take…

boots and a suitcase

PCSing Overseas? New DoD Screening Process Hits Select Installations

May 17, 2017

Going Overseas? Families moving overseas for military orders will soon have another screening process to add to their list of things to do. The new process is called the Family Member Travel Screening (FMTS), and is currently being piloted at select installations in the United States and overseas. It’s designed to determine whether a military family’s needs are being met at current and future duty stations. So what’s different about the FMTS? The paperwork. In the past, when a service member with dependents received orders o…

We Are All Advocates: NMFA Executive Director Shares Tips for Making a Difference

May 16, 2017

“Know your rights as a military spouse and family, and as an American citizen,” National Military Family Association Executive Director Joyce Raezer told a room full of military spouses and supporters May 12 in Washington, D.C. Raezer spoke on the “Advocacy 101” panel of Homefront Rising’s 2017 conference, along with Ashley Broadway Mack (American Military Partners Association), and Megan Poane (U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation Hiring Our Heroes). The panel aimed to teach military spouses how to make a differe…

Interstate Compact Roadblocks

How To PCS-Proof Your Mil-Kid’s Education

May 9, 2017

Moving can be an exciting adventure to a new land, but there are bound to be some worries of what may lie ahead—especially for military kids, who move an average of 9 times before they graduate from high school. Being prepared beforehand can help keep some of those worries at bay, especially when it concerns your child’s education. Military Interstate Compact “The Compact” is an agreement between all 50 states, and the District of Columbia, designed to smooth the transition for military-connected kids as they move bet…

Military Spouse 101 Classes

Military Spouse 101 Classes: Do They Really Help?

May 5, 2017

Becoming a military spouse can be full of happiness, frustration, anxiety, excitement, and host of other mixed emotions. It’s becoming more common for new spouses to look for information and resources about military life through internet search engines or social media. While these may be great methods for researching and connecting virtually with others who have walked the milspouse path, there’s just one missing element to this formula: face-to-face connection! There’s just nothing quite like learning from people living the s…

FAFSA Impact 360px

Heads Up on Student Loan Snag

May 2, 2017

If you haven’t filled out your Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) for the upcoming 2017-2018 school year, you better start soon, or you may find yourself ineligible to receive additional funding through state or institutional grants. Applying for financial aid can be a confusing process, and it’s about to get even more confusing. Without warning, the IRS removed its Data Retrieval Tool (DRT) from the FAFSA website on March 3, citing a data breach that may have affected up to 100,000 tax-payers. The DRT was designed …

group of girls

Supporting Beyond Month of the Military Child

April 28, 2017

America’s military, and the families who stand behind them, has changed. When NMFA began its journey in supporting military families, the majority of draftees were single. Today, almost 50% of service members are married, with nearly two million children in tow. As the nation’s military evolved, military families began experiencing unprecedented levels of stress. To help them cope, we created Operation Purple Camps (OPC), which focuses on bringing military children together to summer camps around the country for a free week of fun…

TRICARE Dental Program Changes

Changes Coming to the TRICARE Dental Program

April 10, 2017

Changes are coming for military families covered by the TRICARE Dental Program. United Concordia will begin administering the TRICARE Dental Program as of May 1, 2017 for dependents of active duty, National Guard, and Reserve service members. Retirees and their families are not affected by this change and will still be covered under a separate TRICARE dental program. What’s changing with the dental plan? Certain coverages are expanding under United Concordia, including the annual maximum benefit, which will increase from $1,300 to $1,…

Air Force Family

Military Families Brace for What’s Next In Syria

April 7, 2017

It has been less than 24 hours since President Trump ordered an airstrike on a Syrian airbase, and military families are watching intently. According to news sources, almost 100 innocent Syrian civilians—including children and even babies—died from the effects of the recent chemical weapons attack and many others continue to suffer. In his press conference, President Trump called on all civilized nations “to end the bloodshed in Syria and end terrorism of all kinds and of all types.” The Syrian government reportedly ha…

National Guard + Reserve Family Support

National Guard and Reserve Families: We Know You Need Support, Too

April 5, 2017

The National Guard and Reserve troops make up approximately 40-50% of the military forces deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan, and the Army projects an increase in the use of Reserve Soldiers in 2017 to meet operational needs. But unlike active duty, Reserve and Guard families often do not live anywhere near a major military installation, and with that distance, the vital link of support for those military families is missing—especially during a deployment. According to Robyn Mroszczyk, a Family Program specialist at the National Guard Bu…

6 Military Life Apps

Military Life? There’s An App for That!

March 28, 2017

There are so many logistical nightmares that accompany this awesome, crazy military life. Whether it’s maintaining a relationship during deployment, moving around over and over again, or trying to navigate parental duties when you’re solo, military families could use some life-hacks that are specific to our challenges and everyday life. Well guess what? There’s an app for that! In fact, there are hundreds of apps out there that can help make our lives easier in thousands of ways. We decided to share six of them with you to he…

Father and Son

American Health Care Act

March 24, 2017

Impact of Medicaid Program Cuts on Military and Veteran Families Our Association has concerns about Medicaid program cuts included in the American Health Care Act and the potential negative impact they may have on military and veteran families who access Medicaid after transitioning from military service or for their special needs family members. Transition from Military Service Nearly 8 in 10 veterans leave military service without a civilian job waiting for them¹. Upon separation from active duty, most veterans and their families imme…

Proposed budget cuts

Proposed Budget Cuts Could Hurt Military Families Bigly

March 22, 2017

When the Administration’s budget proposal was released on March 15, the big news in the military community was the size of the Defense budget. As expected, the President is calling for large increases in military spending—an additional $54 billion. These funds would be used to increase the size of the Army and Marine Corps and buy additional warships and fighter planes. Good news, right? Well yes…and no. As military family advocates (and military family members ourselves), we understand how important it is that service memb…

hands in a circle

One Team One Fight: The Rising Trend of the All-Hands Spouse Clubs

March 9, 2017

Did you know that the history of military spouse clubs can be traced all the way back to the revolutionary war? In fact, Martha Washington herself has been largely viewed as the driving force behind what we now know as Officers' Spouse Clubs and Family Service programs. The social gatherings Martha spear-headed gave the war-weary wives a chance to connect with others in the same boat, and helped with the war effort as well. Much like today’s military spouses, they catered their skills toward helping the troops and caring for the ill and …

An Evening With NMFA

March 8, 2017

In an evening filled with camaraderie and esprit de corps, the National Military Family Association hosted a reception on March 7 to celebrate military families. Since 1984, NMFA has recognized individuals and organizations who have dedicated their public service to military members, veterans, and their families with the Support of Military Families Award. Last night, we honored three women who went above and beyond the call of duty to support military families this year. NMFA Board of Governors Vice Chair, Mary Lynn Stevens opened the eve…

Blended Retirement

Blended Retirement System: Should you switch?

March 3, 2017

You may have heard talk of a change to the military’s retirement system that’s left you wondering what in the world it means for your military family? Luckily, you have all of 2017 to make the right retirement choice for your future, because you don’t have to decide whether to stay under the current retirement system or switch to the new system until December 31st, 2018. But if you’re ready to decide, you can switch as early as January 1st, 2018. For service members who entered active service before January 1, 2006, or …

2017 Military Saves Week

How Your Credit Cards Can Pay You Back

February 27, 2017

It’s Military Saves Week and boy do we have some great tips for you! You would probably think we’re crazy if we told you that your creditors will lower your interest rates, waive annual fees or even reimburse you hundreds or possibly thousands of dollars if you asked them to. In fact, you’re probably raising an eyebrow right now, thinking that we’re full of it. We can explain. Thanks to the Service Member Civil Relief Act (SCRA), military families are protected from certain legal and financial burdens that might happen…

Service of Military Family Awardees 2017

NMFA Honors Advocates

February 24, 2017

Do you ever wonder how military family programs and policies get started? Who makes them better over time? And who’s working behind the scenes to make military life better for our nation’s finest and their families? Since 1984, NMFA has celebrated those who have supported military families through their work or leadership, and recognize them with our Support of Military Families Award. These stewards of good work do not seek recognition, and strive valiantly to further the mission of NMFA. We would like to introduce you to this ye…

NMFA Goes to Bat for Military Families on the Hill

February 16, 2017

On February 14th, NMFA’s Executive Director, Joyce Raezer, testified before the Senate Armed Services Committee in a hearing about the Department of Defense (DoD) Single Service Member and Military Family Readiness programs. We’ve heard from military families, like yours, about military health care experiences, the troubles finding reliable and affordable child care, and the ongoing issue of spouse employment. We took those concerns straight to Capitol Hill and spoke on behalf of military families around the globe. Recently, 9,000…

Hiring Freeze

How long will military families feel the chill of the hiring freeze?

February 7, 2017

Military personnel may be exempt from the recent federal hiring freeze issued last month, but that doesn’t mean they're exempt from the overall impact. In fact, recent confusion has service members and their families concerned about an already hot button issue--childcare. Unfortunately, the DoD’s clarification of exemptions to the freeze left more questions than answers, as we recently saw first-hand when two Army installation commanders blamed the hiring freeze on their inability to hire child care workers. Some positions will be…

Kids and a teacher

“Good” Schools Need More Than Just Great Teachers

February 6, 2017

We can all agree that our military-connected children—all children really—need and deserve to attend good schools and receive the best possible education. But one question that isn’t often asked is what exactly is it that makes a school “good”? A recent report by the Lexington Institute analyzed standardized test results in four states that serve a large number of military-connected children. The study suggested that those scores should be used to help measure the quality of education that each school provides. Bu…

Sec Def Mattis

Dear Secretary Mattis,

January 23, 2017

The National Military Family Association would like to congratulate you on becoming our nation’s 26th Secretary of Defense (SECDEF). We realize you have your work cut out for you, so we extend our commitment to helping you keep up with the pulse of our military families. As you know, military life is something unknown to many Americans. Your new role gives you an opportunity to elevate the strengths and the challenges of today’s service members and their families. You will have numerous opportunities to help narrow the military-ci…

scholarships

NMFA Scholarship helps Military Spouse Defy Murphy’s Law

January 11, 2017

Army Spouse Karen Horvath can see the light at the end of the tunnel. She is currently in hot pursuit of her Master’s Degree in Mechanical Engineering, and is on track to graduate in May of 2017. We don’t have to tell you that this is no small feat for any military spouse, and the mother of three refused to let anything stand in her way…including Murphy’s Law. Karen and her husband are very dedicated to the idea of not taking out any student loans. The first year of her degree program was funded completely through va…

military discharge

Military Discharge Upgrades: 3 Things DoD Wants You to Know

January 9, 2017

After 15 years of war, it’s very likely you’ve come across someone who was discharged from military service under less-than-honorable conditions, receiving what is commonly known as a “bad paper” discharge. These veterans are typically ineligible for VA healthcare benefits, including access to mental health services. Countless combat veterans have been separated and given a less-than-honorable discharge due to behavior that can be linked to conditions such as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). In the past, former se…

year in review

A Year in Review: Looking to the Horizon

January 1, 2017

As 2016 winds to a close, NMFA is busy preparing to take 2017 by storm. The New Year will bring a new Congress, and with it a new Commander in Chief. NMFA remains committed to supporting our military families and building on the progress we have made in 2016. On December 8, Congress passed the final version of the 2017 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). This legislation guides policies and funding levels within the Department of Defense; impacting military pay, health care, Basic Allowance for Housing (BAH) and more. With the hel…

Wishlist for Administration

An Education “Wish List” for the New Administration

December 21, 2016

As the country prepares to welcome a new President in January, many military families are grappling with questions about what the new Administration will mean for them. Along with questions about pay, benefits, and deployments, military families with kids have another concern – the incoming Administration’s policies on education. With the vast majority of military children attending public schools, and many transitioning frequently to new school districts and states, the quality of public education in the United States is of utmost …

Military Health Care Reform

A Handful of Improvements to Healthcare, Thanks to the NDAA

December 19, 2016

By now you have probably seen the headlines about the massive Military Health System Reform coming our way in the 2017 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). There are still so many questions about how it will all actually work, but the question we’re sure you might be wondering is, “How will this impact my family’s healthcare?” Let’s start with what we know for sure: TRICARE Standard/Extra Becomes TRICARE Select On the surface, this might seem like one of the biggest changes, but it’s mostly just a n…

"Godspeed, John Glenn"

December 8, 2016

NDAA 8 Things to know

8 Ways the 2017 National Defense Authorization Act Will Affect Your Military Family

December 7, 2016

**The FY17 NDAA has passed the House and the Senate. The bill now goes to the President for his signature.** On December 2, Congress unveiled the final version of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), the massive piece of legislation that sets policies and funding levels for the Department of Defense. Tucked in its more than 1,000 pages are changes to pay, parental leave, commissary operations and more – some good, some not so much. How will your military family be affected? Here are eight important things that you need to know:…

Hey, Congress! Don’t Forget about Military Kids this Holiday Season

November 30, 2016

Congress is getting ready to leave town for the holidays, but they are giving a big lump of coal to public schools educating military-connected kids. Leaders in the House and Senate have decided to put off passing Appropriations, or spending bills for Fiscal Year 2017, which started back in October. Instead, they will most likely pass a Continuing Resolution that will extend until the end of March. A Continuing Resolution would be harmful for all federal agencies, including the Department of Defense, because it prevents them from entering into…

Military Kids Health Care

Defense Health Board Seeks Comments on Pediatric Care

November 30, 2016

Have you faced problems getting your child an appointment at your military clinic? Had TRICARE deny a claim for services your child’s doctor ordered? Faced obstacles in finding pediatric specialty care providers who take TRICARE patients? Now is your chance to provide feedback to the Defense Health Board! The Defense Health Board (DHB) is a Federal Advisory Committee charged with providing independent advice to the Military Health System. The DHB just announced a December 14 meeting where they will collect public comments regarding pedia…

Unfinished Business: The FY16 NDAA

November 15, 2016

With all the focus recently on the election and the new Administration taking over in January, 2017, it’s easy to overlook an important piece of unfinished business from 2016--the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). The House and Senate each passed versions of the bill, which sets policies and funding levels for the Department of Defense, earlier this year. However, they were unable to agree to a compromise version before leaving town in October for the campaign. Now that the election is over, Congress will be returning to Washi…

President Trump

Dear President Donald Trump,

November 9, 2016

Now that you're the new Commander-in-Chief, military families have a few things they’d like to tell you, our new leader. Military families are tired of the uncertainty, and worried about more unfulfilled promises from leaders who have their loved one’s life in their hands. Nearly 300,000 service members are currently deployed, many still fighting a war that’s lasted more than 15 years. In that time, benefits for service members dwindled, sequestration became an unavoidable reality, and military families began to wonder if th…

Treatment or Hospice

Fix the Gap: Terminally Ill Military Kids Must Forego Treatment to Receive Hospice Care

November 8, 2016

Your family sacrifices 365 days a year. You endure multiple moves, silently serve during repeated deployments, and patiently wait through the dreaded appointment line to receive care at your Military Treatment Facility. You expect your TRICARE benefit to be there for you when you need it most. Since the Affordable Care Act (ACA) was passed, our Association has worked to ensure TRICARE policies are on par with coverage mandated by the ACA. Given the sacrifices service members and their families make, shouldn’t military families expect h…

kids at desk

School Transition Roadblocks and Who’s Fixing Them

November 7, 2016

Do you have a school-aged child? A high schooler who’s nearing graduation? Do you worry about problems your kids may face if they have to change schools due to a PCS move? If you are a military family with kids in school, chances are you may have heard about the Interstate Compact, an agreement created to smooth the transition for military kids as they move between school districts and states. All 50 states and Washington D.C. are part of the Interstate Compact agreement. A huge milestone for military families, the Interstate Compact…

Military Family

This Month, Thank the Force Behind our Force

November 2, 2016

The silent service of more than 2.9 million military family members around the world is truly the force behind our force. While we honor our military families every day of the year, Military Family Month is when our President asks all Americans to pay tribute to the extraordinary ways our nation’s families continue to support our military. Military kids deal with stressors that other children don’t understand—like a deployed, or injured parent. Military spouses put their career ambitions on hold support their service member…

Trump and Clinton Campaigns Visit NMFA Office to Discuss Military Families

October 14, 2016

Military and veteran policy advisors from the campaigns of both major presidential nominees were in the NMFA office on October 13 to hear from organizations who fight for our nation’s families. As a member of The Military Coalition (TMC)—which is comprised of 33 organizations representing the 5.5 million uniformed service members and their families—NMFA hosted both campaigns at our headquarters in Alexandria, Virginia to share the questions and concerns military and veteran families want our next Commander in Chief to know …

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