The National Defense Authorization Act for fiscal year 2013 established a special commission to review military compensation and retirement programs, and to make recommendations for the President and Congress. Jan. 29, the findings of the Military Compensation and Retirement Modernization Commission were finalized and released. Here are 5 things you need to know about MCRMC report:
1. It calls for sweeping changes to the current retirement system
The commissioners suggest implementing a 401(k)-style investment account for future service members utilizing a combination of direct pay, thrift savings, continuation pay, and retention bonuses. It should be noted, a grandfather clause would shield current retirees and those presently serving from any retirement changes. For the most part, the new system would only apply to future troops, but some currently-serving members may be given an opportunity to opt-in.
2. Recommends overhauling the current military-health care system
Their plan would replace the existing TRICARE system for military family members, retirees and their dependents with a Federal Employees Health Benefits option. Currently serving members would receive a monthly stipend to help cover expenses related to their dependents health care. Health care for active-duty military members, and retirees eligible for TRICARE for Life, would remain unchanged.
3. Addresses service-member family and survivor needs
There is a call to improve support of special-needs family members by aligning services offered through Extended Care Health Option (ECHO) to match Medicare waiver options and improve access to child care on military installations.
4. Could change the dynamic of on-base shopping
The MCRMC proposal calls for a consolidation of the three exchange systems and the commissary into a single entity.
5. They are only recommendations.
Most of the recommendations of the commission require action by law makers in order to be implemented. Currently, there is no legislation pending in Congress that would allow these changes to become law.
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