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New Discoveries and Your Military Benefits!




Memorial Day weekend was wonderful! We had beautiful weather and great family get-togethers; and watched the Memorial Day parade in our small town with a niece proudly marching in the high school band! What fun.

During a late walk on Memorial Day after all the festivities Deb and I discovered a couple of beautiful Dogwood Trees in our woods that we had not seen before. They were huge and we are still wondering how we missed them for the last 6 spring/summers!?? Maybe the cooler spring allowed more blossoms and/or the sun angle was right in the evening? But the blossoms jumped out of the new green vegetation and they were tall (30 feet plus) which may be another reason we had not seen them as we tend to be looking at the ground for new berries and poison ivy (to avoid of course) etc. at this time of the year.

Isn't that the way it is with many new discoveries? Often it is something simple and we wonder how we missed that; didn't try that before; see it or enjoy it! One of the discoveries we often jump over and then go, "that was easy" or "why didn't I do that before?", is our military benefits! We have experienced or shared the challenges of the GI Bill, the VA Disability System and Loan System, the Tricare Medical Programs, the installation medical community and remote and mail in pharmacies and many more programs. There are some pretty bad stories/incidents that some have experienced but most experiences are great with comments like: "that worked out nicely", "what a kind person helped me" and "wasn't that great".

Sometimes we need to be persistent with the providers who work for the many systems that provide our support structure but a kind word and smile (yes, I think we can smile over the phone too) frequently works wonders. I remember working through issues and laughing with a person on the phone from 2,000 miles away over her plans to go use MWR facilities and taking her grandsons fishing while I was looking outside at below freezing temperatures and trying to figure out how to apply for Combat-Related Special Compensation (CRSC). If you have not heard of this great program for those injured or disabled please contact service personnel officials about it. It was a "discovery" that was not too difficult and resulted in a benefit beyond the VA Disability Program which I had not expected.

Another system that I learned to use that is relatively simple to use is the Tricare Mail Order Pharmacy (TMOP) through Express Scripts. It makes our lives a bit easier with no nearby military pharmacy and the cost is lower for meds when ordering them for long periods of time. We also recently discovered the value of medical benefits when serious illnesses struck and we saw the size of the medical bills which were covered by Tricare. Although we had co pays and individual deductibles we reached the family and individual caps pretty quickly which saved us tens of thousands!

The providers are often trying to "sell" you their program but if someone is not a very good salesperson there are ways to provide feedback to them as well. If you do run into a road block (very unlikely) be sure to use the system to let them know they are being paid to assist you.

Which military benefits have you "discovered" to be the most "customer friendly"? Give us an installation or service that you want to tell us and others about! Just think if we tell everyone about the best "sales person" or "benefit" others can be enjoying them as well!

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