- The Washington Times - Sunday, December 18, 2005

Dear Sgt. Shaft:

I retired from the Navy after 20 years of active duty. Got a job with the federal government and will be 62 in 2016. Will have 10 years in as a fed in 2010. Can my wife have Tricare Prime as her main insurance also?

She also works for the federal government and is worried that if I should pass away she may not be eligible for it. She wants to continue to keep her own insurance. That is a chunk of change I would prefer not to have to pay. She will be 62 in the year 2012.

Many thanks,

Z.B.

Via the Internet

Dear Z:

Before age 65, both you and your spouse by default have the Tricare Standard benefit similar to a preferred provider organization with a deductible of $150 per person or $300 per family and 25 percent cost shares. You also have the option of enrolling in Tricare Prime that acts like a health maintenance organization operating through the Military Treatment Facility for an enrollment fee of $230 per person or $460 per family.

Upon reaching age 65, you are eligible for Tricare for Life, which works in combination with Medicare to cover your health care needs. Should your spouse be hesitant, she has the option to suspend rather than terminate her coverage through the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program to use Tricare. With the suspension, she can obtain the FEHBP during a future open season.

Shaft notes

• In response to several requests for prints of “Assured Victory,” as many of you already know, George Skypeck has generously donated hundreds of these prints to the Blinded American Veterans Foundation (BAVF).

A copy can be obtained for a $100 tax-deductible contribution to BAVF. These donations will go to helping the wounded and their families at the National Naval Medical Center in Bethesda and Walter Reed Army Medical Center in the District. The original painting is on public display loan to Arlington National Cemetery’s Visitors Center. It depicts the events of September 11 at the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, and the heroes who emerged.

• HR 2062 was passed by the Congress and signed into law by the president renaming the Newville, Pa., post office in memory of Army Sgt. 1st Class Randall “Randy” Shughart, who along with Master Sgt. Gary Gordon was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor posthumously for his actions above and beyond the call of duty on Oct. 3, 1993, in Mogadishu, Somalia. His story was featured in the book and movie “Black Hawk Down.”

Sgt. Shughart was a 1976 graduate of Big Spring High School in Newville. For several years, Richard Chamberlain, a Korean War veteran, has been attempting to have the new Big Spring high school building named in honor of Sgt. Shughart, the fourth Medal of Honor recipient in all of central Pennsylvania in 140 years, since the Civil War.

“This bill received support from the entire Pennsylvania delegation, which shows our sincere appreciation for the men and women who protect our freedoms here at home,” said Rep. Bill Shuster, Pennsylvania Republican and a member of the Armed Services Committee. “And at the local level we worked with Cumberland County officials because his commitment to duty deserves recognition. Randall Shughart is a true American hero and we must always remember the sacrifices he made as well as many others because their services keep us safe at home.”

Send letters to Sgt. Shaft, c/o John Fales, PO Box 65900, Washington, D.C. 20035-5900; fax 301/622-3330; call 202/257-5446; or e-mail [email protected]

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