[ The Real McCoy Online Home ]                                                                                                                         June 27, 2008

Fort McCoy issue discussed at high-level AFAP Conference

      An Army Family Action Plan (AFAP) medical insurance issue that originated from the Fort McCoy fiscal year (FY) 2008 AFAP conference and other top issues from the U.S. Army Forces Command (FORSCOM) and U.S. Army Reserve Command (USARC) level AFAP conferences will be forwarded to the Department of the Army (DA) AFAP conference. The DA AFAP conference will be held Jan. 26-30, 2009 in Alexandria, VA. 

      The five top issues from the FORSCOM AFAP Conference included one that came from the Fort McCoy AFAP process: the availability of TRICARE Prime healthcare insurance.

      Ann Wermer, Fort McCoy AFAP program manager, said the issue, which tied for fourth most important issue at the conference, was reworked from information submitted by Fort McCoy AFAP personnel.

      The issue revolves around retirees, students, and voluntarily geographically separated military families in the North and West regions having to travel distances to a Prime service area or choose TRICARE Standard which is more costly. The lack of TRI-CARE Prime service availability creates a financial hardship and affects the health and well-being of beneficiaries residing in these regions. TRICARE South is enrolling retirees in existing networks established for TRICARE Prime Remote.

      Fort McCoy military personnel eligible for TRICARE medical coverage currently are covered under the TRICARE Remote option. Because of this, their family members who live in the North and West TRICARE regions have to travel to a TRICARE Prime service area or choose TRICARE Standard, which is more costly to the beneficiary and the government.

      The top five issues from the FORSCOM AFAP Conference were submitted to the DA AFAP Conference for further consideration, Wermer said.

      The other FORSCOM issues to advance were (to eliminate) the Indefinite Re-enlistment Program, (to increase staffing to reduce) Shortages of Medical Providers in Military Treatment Facilities, (to authorize for all deployed Soldiers) Rest and Recuperation Leave, (to increase the coverage from $400,000 to $1 million) for Service Members Group Life Insurance Coverage, and (to change the way dependents are calculated and give local commanders increased latitude to determine the (Military Housing Area mileage) in their area for) Basic Allowance for Housing.

      The top issues for the Army Reserve AFAP Conference were 1. (two-way tie) Temporary Military Access Card for Guardians Designated in Deployed Soldiers' Family Care Plan and Health Care Access for Army Reserve Soldiers and Family Members in Remote Overseas Locations, 2. (two-way tie) Student Loan Repayment Program For Army Reserve Company Grade Officers and Exceptional Family Member Program For Reserve Component Soldiers and 3. Marketing of Army Reserve Child and Youth Services Programs.

      Wermer said these issues also were sent to the DA AFAP Conference for consideration.

      AFAP issues begin at the local level where they are submitted and discussed.

      Fort McCoy currently is seeking AFAP issues that will be discussed at the installation's FY09 AFAP Conference Oct. 22-23. Volunteers for delegates,  and facilitators, recorders, transcribers, and issue support persons are requested by Friday, Aug. 15.

      "Every issue submitted will be reviewed, monitored and tracked to seek a resolution," Wermer said. "Issues that can be resolved at the local level will be solved here. If issues can't be solved at the local level, and they have a potential Armywide impact, they will be submitted to a higher-level AFAP conference, such as USARC or FORSCOM. Many improvements throughout the Army have come as a result of the AFAP process."

      Fort McCoy sends representatives to the conferences as funding is available so they can bring Fort McCoy input to the process and report back on the important issues and discussions, she said.

      Maj. Sharon Russ of the 181st Infantry Brigade represented Fort McCoy at the FORSCOM AFAP Conference.

      Maj. Jonathan Cox of Fort McCoy and Sgt. 1st Class Michael Kelley of Milwaukee represented the 84th Training Command (Leadership Readiness) at the Army Reserve AFAP Conference. Wendy Burdick of the 84th Training Command (LR) also served as the room manager for the Medical/Dental Workgroups.


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