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Now Hear This - August 2010

August 2010 Navy

by CAPT Tom McAtee

IA Performance Evaluation and Advancement Guidance for Active and Reserve Sailors in New NAVADMIN

NAVADMIN 215/10 promulgates specific policy for performance evaluations and advancement policy for IA personnel. New reporting requirements become effective 1 August 2010. The changes in NAVADMIN 215/10 are to ensure Sailors are not placed at a competitive disadvantage while assigned to IA tours. Full details are contained in the NAVADMIN and must be read fully.

Gray-Area TRICARE Update

The latest word from DoD is that Reserve gray-area retirees will be able to enroll in TRICARE Standard sometime in November 2010. Complete eligibility requirements have yet to be promulgated by DoD.

Important Medicare/TFL Decision at Age 65

Whether you picked up early Social Security benefits or plan to wait until age 66, if you are still working and enrolled in an employer health plan, you need to contact your local Social Security office at age 65 and properly defer Medicare Part B. Why? Two important reasons: 1) If you delay enrolling in Medicare Part B (because you are covered by an employer plan), you will incur a 10% penalty in premiums for every year of delay; 2) If not enrolled in Medicare Part B, you have no TRICARE for Life until you enroll.

If you are covered by your employer’s health plan and want to delay Medicare premiums until after your working career, you need to coordinate the deferral of Medicare with the Social Security office. You are allowed to defer Medicare if you are covered by an employer health plan that provides equal benefits as Medicare. Properly deferring Medicare will negate the 10% premium penalty for each year you delay in applying for Medicare. However, deferring Medicare, specifically Part B, will also defer your entitlement to TRICARE for Life. Deferring Medicare properly will qualify you for a special enrollment period (SEP) when you are ready to pick up Medicare. The special enrollment period may occur during any month you are covered under a group health plan based on current employment, or during the eight-month period that begins the first full month after employment or group health plan coverage ends, whichever comes first.

COLA and Pay Raise History
Ten Year Comparison Chart

Military Pay Raise Fiscal Year COLA
3.4% 2010 0.0%
3.9% 2009 5.8%
3.5% 2008 2.3%
2.2% 2007 3.3%
3.1% 2006 4.1%
3.5% 2005 2.7%
3.4% 2004 2.1%
4.1% 2003 1.4%
4.6% 2002 2.6%
3.7% 2001 3.5%
     

Thrift Savings Plan Called a “Benefit for Life”

Two of three military members who separate or retire do so without having opened a government-run Thrift Savings Plan (TSP) account. Because so many TSPeligible military members and federal civilians don’t take full advantage of the benefit, the investment board is asking Congress to pass legislation to require automatic enrollment for new federal employees or service members. TSP provides ease of savings and tax benefits like most employer 401(k) plans. Savings build without hassle. Investment options are varied. Contributions, plus interest or capital gains, are tax-exempt until monies are withdrawn. Reservists benefit from a TSP account since they can continue to contribute from their Reserve earnings. Withdrawals can begin without penalty at age 59 1/2 or earlier for those who separate from government service after age 55. Simple economics make it a smart decision. Commercial firms that manage investment funds for 401(k)s typically impose annual fees of from 50 cents to $1 for every $100 in account balances. TSP fees are only about two cents for every $100. More information can be found at www.tsp.gov.

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