Military healthcare costs up

USA Today published a column today looking at the growing cost of healthcare for military personel. Here is an excerpt:

Military health care spending is rising twice as fast as the nation’s overall health care costs, consuming a larger chunk of the defense budget as the Pentagon struggles to pay for two wars, military budget figures show. The surging costs are prompting the Pentagon and Congress to consider the first hike in out-of-pocket fees for military retirees and some active-duty families in 15 years, said Rear Adm. Christine Hunter, deputy director of TRICARE, the military health care program.

Pentagon spending on health care has increased from $19 billion in 2001 to a projected $50.7 billion in 2011, a 167% increase.

The rapid rise has been driven by a surge in mental health and physical problems for troops who have deployed to war multiple times and by a flood of career military retirees fleeing less-generous civilian health programs, Hunter said.

 The question of cost-sharing is faced by various other kinds of health plans. Here is information on cost sharing patterns we have seen in employer health plans.

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