Military Health Care:The Issue of “Promised” Benefits
Many military health care beneficiaries, particularly military retirees, theirdependents, and those representing their interests, state that they were promised “freehealth care for life at military facilities” as part of their “contractual agreement” whenthey entered the armed forces. Efforts to locate authoritative documentation of suchpromises have not been successful. Congressional report language and recent courtdecisions have rejected retiree claims seeking ‘free care at military facilities’ as aright or entitlement. These have held that the current medical benefit structure madeup of military health care facilities, Tricare and Medicare provide lifetime health careto military members, retirees and their respective dependents. Nevertheless, claimscontinue to be made, particularly by those seeking additional benefits from theDepartment of Defense, or attempting to prevent an actual or perceived reduction inbenefits.