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Old 02-16-2016, 07:11 AM   #1
PhB
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Florida Medical Treatment Facilities and other Shtuff

On a four-year glidepath to our second and third retirement and was wondering...

How are the military hospitals in the panhandle and elsewhere in Florida?

Currently at WPAFB in OH and are quite happy with our medical care, but will be changing residence to FL as that's where, long-term, we will be retiring after our full-timing experience. Will have to change Tricare regions at a minimum.

WPAFB is a regional medical center and was wondering what FL medical center's are still up and running? (not clinics or something less than a full-service facility. We'll both be older than 60 by then and are well-used.

Retiring from civil serpancy in Sep 19. Plan on domiciling in FL around Hurlbert/Eglin until we find or can order our dream coach. Plan on keeping house in OH until I can get a loan from USAA (ideally) or through NIRVC where we will buy our Entegra Coach. (Wife and I are sold on Entegra, so no need to discuss other options, thanks.) Then sell the house and become full-timers.

Any solid info some of you may have on recent purchases and the financing process would also be appreciated. I'm looking at financing a large sum of money for 20 years with about 30 percent down to keep my monthly finance payment manageable.

In the process of downsizing now to what will be manageable in 45 feet and GVWR and individual weight points. Not sure we will get to zero in storage, but will definitely be close. DW has some family heirlooms she's not ready to part with. Any experience in downsizing antiques and collectables would be appreciate as well. Should we call American Pickers and have Mike and Frank come out?

Read the thread on this forum about Tricare Prime versus Standard. Still not sure which way to go, but shortly after getting the coach, I'll be on Medicare with the wife 1.5 years behind me, so prime versus standard should be mostly moot then, but not entirely.

Appreciate in advance your sage wisdom and appropriately earned T-shirts from the store of "Been There, Done That."

Thanks to all for having served regardless of service branch. You're all heroes.

PhB
USAF, Retired
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Old 02-16-2016, 07:26 AM   #2
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As far as Tricare goes it will be Tricare for Life once you hit 65. Go to the Tricare website to double check. Here in Flyover country the folks at Leavenworth KS were very adamant that Prime and Standard go away at that point.
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Old 02-17-2016, 07:01 AM   #3
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I'm on Tricare Standard and live close to Patrick AFB so I am "required" to use their clinic. But, I rather go to a civilian clinic and been doing that and so far no repercussions.

If you will be a federal retiree and kept up your federal health insurance for the past five years, you can continue to keep it upon retirement. I had a choice but opted to use Tricare only.

Good luck.
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Old 02-18-2016, 10:44 AM   #4
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Well that is something that is beyond my experience. I live near Leavenworth, KS. The Command and General Staff college is there. The Post Hospital stopped treating Retires and Dependents years ago. Unless they have changed, but to my knowledge they will only fill prescriptions if they have the medication. Since TriCare went to the requirement of using Express Scripts for any long term meds here in Flyover country I don't even use the base for that.

It was my understanding that the limitation of forcing out to the community medical resources for all Retired folks was DOD wide, but maybe not. I know that there was a huge uproar over it here when that happened.

Also the last time I went to a presentation for TriCare on Leavenworth they were very firm on the fact that when I reach 65 that my TriCare Prime and TriCare Standard would no longer be valid. It did not matter that I want to keep it, I will automagically be tossed over to TriCare for Life.

Maybe it is regional?

Have a good day.
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Old 02-18-2016, 08:15 PM   #5
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Pre and Post Age 65

I hope I can be of some help here on this subject. I too live close to Patrick AFB Flordia. I am currently 64 and a long time user of Tricare Prime. I am retired from a airline due to lose of my medical certificate because of cancer treatment. So.... I have had a lot of interaction with my assigned medical professionals. I will try and list subjects that I'm familiar with.

1. First it is important to understand that life changes once you turn 65 as far as your medical insurance is concerned. If you will look on the back of your DD Form 2 (ID card). You will see that your ID card will expire on the last day on the month prior to your 65 birthday. Pass and ID sections at our base works on an appointment system and it is your responsibility to make a appointment well in advance (60 days) to get your ID card renewed. The renewal process also updates DEERS which changes your Tricare coverage to a supplemental coverage to Medicare. Please don't let your ID card expire!

2. Tricare Prime here is wonderful. I'm require to use the base clinic but I'm sure that varies from region to region. My assigned General Practitioner is a PA and not a DR. I'm very ok with that. It seems that the appointment times are longer and appointments are easy to get. Tricare requires her to write a referral for any specialist. All specialist are civilian doctors that Tricare has contracted service with. I have a assigned dermatologist and urologist.

3. At the time my cancer was discovered I lived in a different region. I went through treatment at Cancer Center of The Carolinas. The care I received was wonderful. I had two hospitals stays and the only cost to me was a few $12 copays. Tricare Prime speciality copays are $12. There is no copay at the base clinic.

4. We have a pharmacy on base and there is no charge as long as they stock the medicine or are willing to order it. They also dispense 90 day supplies if the prescription is so written. You still have the option of using mail order but the prices are changing. I have found that I really have to manage this due to our constant travels so I don't run out of a given medication.

5. I also pay for the Tricare Dental Plan. I had to choose from a list of contracted dentist. I'm happy with my dentist but more importantly I'm really happy with my hygienist. Lol..

6. When I turn 65 I may or may be able to use the base clinic as my general practitioner. It will depend on availability at the time. Medicare does not require a referral for a specialist. Medicare negotiates cost structure with a given specialist. Please note that you can still use the base pharmacy after entering the Medicare System.

7. A benefit that I use often is the base gym. Your health is directly related to the amount of exercise you get. Our gym is newly remodel and well equipped.

8. Let me encourage you to at least register in the VA system. It could be used as a safety net. But understand there is a fee structure based on your financial status. Below the base line service is free and above the base line a copay is charged unless the condition is service related. The process to get into the system is difficult and time consuming. Get started and don't give up. I got hearing aids (free) and eye glasses (minimal cost) with them. I had to go to the new facility at Lake Nona which is about an hour drive. That facility is brand new and beautiful. Every person I came in contact with was wonderful!

I sure I have missed something but please ask any question you want and somebody here on the forum will answer.
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Old 02-18-2016, 08:45 PM   #6
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Old 02-19-2016, 07:44 AM   #7
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xflyer... how do you like the Tricare Dental Plan? I just pay out of pocket for cleaning. I have no dental insurance at all.
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Old 02-19-2016, 09:18 AM   #8
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Tricare Dental Plan

I think the Tricare Dental Plan is great. It is administered by Deltal Dental. I get 2 free/covered cleanings per year. The cost of the plan is deducted from my retirement. Check out the Tricare web site for more details.
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Old 02-19-2016, 03:43 PM   #9
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I don't know if it would apply to you, but I get the pleasure of paying $118/mo to retain Tricare, and it is still my third payer. Medicare and Federal BCBS are first and second.
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Old 02-19-2016, 04:49 PM   #10
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Medicare Part B

There are no enrollment fees or premiums for TRICARE For Life, though you must purchase Medicare Part B to stay eligible for TRICARE For Life. If you do some comparison you will be pleasantly surprised that TRICARE For Life is a bargain.
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Old 02-22-2016, 06:07 AM   #11
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Thanks for this link. I always thought the closest VA clinic to me was in Bradenton. I see in the link there is one in Port Charlotte which is where I winter. I'll have to check it out.
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