Paid Too Much?

In a new report, the Government Accountability Office finds that the reservists using Tricare Reserve Select in 2006 paid considerably more for their premiums than the plan provided in benefits. For instance in Tier 1, which includes 90 percent of TRS enrollees, individuals paid 72 percent more in premiums than the average cost per plan of providing benefits. DOD chose to base TRS premiums on Blue Cross and Blue Shield premiums and, GAO said, didn’t factor in differences in the TRS and BCBS populations and the way the program are designed. GAO urges DOD to begin using actual data to set premiums. However, although DOD concurred, it plans to continue using BCBS for some time because it doesn’t believe it can accurately predict future TRS costs. According to the official DOD response, Congressionally directed changes in the program have “slowed the data maturation process.”