New Jersey’s senior U.S. Senator, Frank Lautenberg is joining forces with U.S. Senator Marco Rubio from Florida. They’ve introduced a bill that would place reasonable and affordable caps on health insurance enrollment fees, deductibles, and pharmacy co-payments for military retirees enrolled in the Department of Defense’s TRICARE system. The bill is designed to protect the nine million beneficiaries in the military health care system, particularly military retirees, from unfair insurance fee hikes.

“A tough fiscal climate is no excuse to balance the budget on the backs of our nation’s military retirees and their families,” says Lautenberg, an Army veteran.  “Those Americans who serve in our military do so much to protect us—the least we can do is protect them against excessive health care costs.  Our bill will protect veterans from unfair health care fee hikes and help guarantee that health services are affordable for those who served and sacrificed to keep our country safe.”

The Lautenberg-Rubio “Military Health Care Protection Act of 2012” would establish that the percentage of increase in certain military health care fees in any given year cannot exceed the percentage of increase in military retired pay.  This would protect military retirees, surviving spouses, and their families from undue financial burden.

Rubio says, “This bill would give veterans on TRICARE greater assurances that their costs will not spiral out of control beyond their means to pay for them.  Military retirees who rely on fixed incomes usually don’t have the ability to go out and find new jobs to pay for increased TRICARE costs. This effort will bring more predictability to help them budget for their health care needs.”

The bill is supported by 21 military and veteran groups, including: Military Officers Association of America (MOAA), Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA), American Legion, Fleet Reserve Association, and the National Military Family Association (NMFA).