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Old 05-02-2017, 10:24 AM
 
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Those of you who are retired and living next to active duty bases may be able to answer this:


In a few years I'll be fully retiring, and we're looking at moving near a base with the idea of utilizing the base hospital and pharmacy rather than scurrying around looking for medical providers that accept both Tricare and Medicare.


I understand of course that active duty always has priority, but does anyone have any experience at how viable that really is? Is it worth making a retirement location decision with that regard?

Last edited by Ralph_Kirk; 05-02-2017 at 11:17 AM..
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Old 05-02-2017, 10:59 AM
 
Location: Hawaii/Alabama
1,409 posts, read 2,547,621 times
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We use an Army Health Clinic and it has always worked for us. We also use Tripler Army Medical when we are in Hawaii.
There are times when we have had to wait quite while for an appointment, but that happened when we were still AD.

I have Tricare for Life while DH still has Tricare Prime. I think a lot of it has to with the facility you are considering, so perhaps you should research the area and speak with the medical facility. I wish you the best.
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Old 05-02-2017, 11:16 AM
 
Location: New Mexico U.S.A.
22,176 posts, read 32,925,275 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ralph_Kirk View Post
I understand of course that active duty always has priority, but does anyone have any experience at how viable that really is?
I am retired military. (1990)

Moved here to New Mexico because my wife got a promotion and paid move in 1998.

Started using the local Air Force Base which was a 45 minute drive one way and had decent/good service for the most part, about 7 years. 377th Medical Group (which is actually off base). Prescriptions went through various changes, to include having them mailed to us. We always got good service except wait times got longer, started getting farmed out to various civilian facilities and then in the end, we could no longer use the majority of military services. Then we were changed to Tricare and Medicare.

Currently with up with Tricare Life and my wife has Tricare Prime with co-pay and $22.14 monthly "fee".

We are both very happy with our current situation... I needed routine blood work yesterday, drove there to have it done and was back home 45 minutes later, instead the the usual 2 hours plus... That afternoon my wife got the lab results by checking on computer. She said everything was good, I should live a bit longer...

We have been using primarily Presbyterian Medical Group in Rio Rancho, NM.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ralph_Kirk View Post
Is it worth making a retirement location decision with that regard?
Not for us. We have been quite happy the way things turned out for us, however, a lot depends on a lot of factors, and many of those factors changed for us over time.
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Last edited by Poncho_NM; 05-03-2017 at 11:43 AM..
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Old 05-02-2017, 03:36 PM
 
Location: Tampa, FL
22,852 posts, read 19,269,806 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ralph_Kirk View Post
Those of you who are retired and living next to active duty bases may be able to answer this:


In a few years I'll be fully retiring, and we're looking at moving near a base with the idea of utilizing the base hospital and pharmacy rather than scurrying around looking for medical providers that accept both Tricare and Medicare.


I understand of course that active duty always has priority, but does anyone have any experience at how viable that really is? Is it worth making a retirement location decision with that regard?
I live near a large military base but use a civilian provider in the Tricare Network (they've allowed me to). I find the care better than the Air Force Clinic I used to use when I first retired. Many providers where I live accept Tricare. Maybe that's not hte case in other towns. The local pharmacies accept Tricare as well as well although I use Express Scripts (which Tricare and local base pharmacy encourage everyone to use). I'm not Medicare age yet, but my folks are and they've not had any problems.

I'm accessing ophthalmology specialty care regularly (glaucoma checks) as well as have had two colonoscopies by civilian providers all authorized through the Tricare referral system. Seven years retired and not a single issue using civilian physicians who accept Tricare and are well-versed in their referral approval system.

My cost is $500/yr or something like that. What a bargain, no? I'm always hesitant to discuss w/ my non-military friends many who are going bare without insurance or paying sometimes thousands a year for health insurance.

The retirees I know who use the base clinic had difficulty with continuity of care. The providers that they were seeing were often deployed and they'd have to start back with a new provider. Some military clinics use civilian providers so that's not as much of a problem in those cases.

Last edited by BucFan; 05-02-2017 at 04:10 PM..
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Old 05-03-2017, 11:45 AM
 
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My parents used a base hospital and pharmacy for decades. My dad swears by it and still goes there. He is very happy with the care he receives.
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Old 05-03-2017, 12:00 PM
 
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It is probably dependent on the location, size of the medical facility, and number of patients they serve. I am in San Antonio. We have plenty of military medical facilities here, but also lots of active duty and retired military members (and their families) to use those facilities. When I first retired I was using the military medical facilities, and it was difficult to get appointments. Based on that, I got approval to switch to a civilian (off base) Primary Care Manager. That certainly was a big improvement as far as being able to get appointments in a timely manner. But for a few reasons I decided to switch back to the military system a couple of years back. It has really improved (here), and I have no problem at all getting an appointment whenever I want.
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Old 05-06-2017, 10:45 AM
 
Location: NoVA
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Depends totally on the location. Just a heads up, not all military clinics will put retirees on their caseload. You would still have tri-care prime, still can use their pharmacy, in some places still use their labs, and occasionally, in select locations, use their speciality care, but for the most part your care will be with civilian network providers. At $12/visit it is reasonable and if you are concerned about continuity of care, it is better.

If, on the other hand, you happen to live in area which is not eligible for tricare prime, it might be worth the move to a prime eligible area if one of you has health issues that requires frequent medical care, even if you aren't seen at the military clinic. Ditto if one of you has a lot of medications that result in a costly cost share. However, it's not guaranteed you can get all your medications from the post pharmacy, if they don't have your particular medication on their formulary and you are prescribed one of their medications that they require special authorization to dispense you'll have to use tricare to purchase it on the outside, with cost share. I am one of those retirees that falls under this category and it would be worth it financially to live in driving distance of an active base just for the pharmacy.
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Old 05-08-2017, 06:30 PM
 
Location: Alaska
14 posts, read 3,391 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ralph_Kirk View Post
Those of you who are retired and living next to active duty bases may be able to answer this:


In a few years I'll be fully retiring, and we're looking at moving near a base with the idea of utilizing the base hospital and pharmacy rather than scurrying around looking for medical providers that accept both Tricare and Medicare.


I understand of course that active duty always has priority, but does anyone have any experience at how viable that really is? Is it worth making a retirement location decision with that regard?

In a few more years I'll be fully retired as well.


I think it is definitely a plus retiring next to a base, but of course weigh out your own pros and cons.
I retired in 2013 and live in Fairbanks Alaska next to Ft Wainwright, Bassett Army Hospital.
Own a house here, daughter finishing out school and has an Alaska performance scholarship, wife and I have decent jobs, but darn it gets to cold here.

My Tricare prime covers the family and is about $47/mo allotment out of my retirement check.
Tricare prime enrollment, same as active duty and dependents, so it seems like equal access and they don't take priority. If I had elected Tricare Standard for no charge then I would be space available. Pharmacy does give waiting line preference to AD.
Seeing a provider on base is fairly easy, yes your primary Doc will change frequently with PCS staff changes.
My daughter sees and allergist off base, each visit is a $12 copay. My wife has had to undergo cancer treatment and each chemo visit is also a $12 copay. So $63 allergy shot - $12, $63K chemo - $12. We have not had any issues with providers in Fairbanks, Anchorage or Seattle with referrals.


Eventually I'm moving south for warmth, strongly considering SanAntonio.
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Old 05-08-2017, 09:13 PM
 
13,488 posts, read 6,574,588 times
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I appreciate all these responses, and they're giving me plenty of food for thought. Please keep them coming.
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Old 05-08-2017, 10:56 PM
 
Location: Back where I started. Who knew?
1,043 posts, read 1,147,154 times
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Checking in from Vegas. Hubby retired in 2013. We pay for Tricare Prime with our providers being at Nellis. Care has been decent and non-emergency appointments reasonable. I was sent off base for a cardiologist for BP issues and am very happy with that care. I'm also seeing an on base gynecologist (planning to schedule a surgery) who happens to be going to Lakenheath next month :-(. I'm going to postpone and work on my plan B.

The on-base meds are great but are somewhat inconvenient when you work full-time. The lab is another problem. Its hard to get results to my off-base doc which almost makes me want to pay the difference and just go to Quest diagnostics which is close to my job and easier to get results from. Other things to consider right now is the time it takes to get new prescriptions filled or lab draws done. Waiting for new scripts to be filled can take 2+hours. The problem is you have to check-in to start the new script, where you can wait for it to be filled or come to pick up later (again, hard to do when you work full time).

Lab work right now is about a hour and a half. I don't know if this is a side affect of the the current Federal hiring freeze, meaning shortage of staff. I think some of the pharmacy people are retired volunteers. I have a suspicion that the 99th medical group is running lean and under pressure. We have been getting treated here off and on for the past 17 years and have seen it run more staffed and efficiently.

I'm now considering how to move all of my medical needs to off base providers but think we have to have referrals from my primary on Nellis who happens to be a nurse practitioner (because we live within 50 miles of the base). I too am enjoying this thread.
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