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April 1, 2006

Family Programs Update
Volume 6, Number 6

This newsletter is published bi-monthly by the AUSA Family Programs Directorate. If you would like to receive the Family Programs Update by e-mail, please send a message to with the word “subscribe” in the subject line.

In this issue:

  • Four Bliss Batteries Move
  • Hawaii Guard Troops Can Keep Combat Patches
  • Senator Praises Effects of Traumatic Injury Insurance
  • Special Open Enrollment: Survivor Benefit Plan for Active and Reserve Retirees
  • No Retirees’ TRICARE Fee Hike – For Now
  • TRICARE Standard Publication Released
  • TRICARE Dental Program for Guard and Reserve
  • Bill Would Offer Rural Vets Better Access to Healthcare
  • Combat-Disabled Deserve Full Retirement Pay
  • Public Awareness Campaign Against Domestic Violence
  • MBA Scholarships Offered to Illinois Active, Former Service Members
  • Children’s Bracelet, Sold at PX, Recalled!
  • Dragon Slayer 6k Road Race Fund Raiser for Dad’s Liver Transplant
  • Beware of Fraudulent Coupons!
  • “Cable Guy” Hits U.S., OIF Theatres

Once again, Family Programs will be a part of the AUSA Annual Meeting, Oct. 9-11. Family Forums I, II, and III will address current issues that concern and/or affect service members and their families, followed by a question and answer period. Please continue checking the Web site ( for the latest information about the Forums.

Four Bliss Batteries Move
As part of the Army’s transformation of its air defense, four Patriot batteries at Fort Bliss, Texas, are expected to begin moving to Fort Hood in June. For more on this story:

Hawaii Guard Troops Can Keep Combat Patches
An order that would have stripped many Hawaii National Guard soldiers of hard-won combat patches from Iraq and Kuwait duty has been revised after the issue was examined by higher command. Read details at:

Senator Praises Effects of Traumatic Injury Insurance
A new insurance program created at the urging of three injured Iraq war veterans has already helped 1,543 people, according to the lawmaker who helped push the plan through Congress. More details on this story:

Special Open Enrollment: Survivor Benefit Plan for Active and Reserve Retirees
This special Survivor Benefit Plan (SBP) Open Enrollment applies to the following: Retirees currently receiving retired pay who previously declined coverage for an eligible beneficiary or, if participating in SBP, selected a reduced base amount; and Reserve retirees, commonly referred to as "gray area retirees" who will be entitled to retired pay at age 60, who previously declined to participate in Reserve Component SBP (Option A), elected deferred coverage (Option B), or immediate coverage (Option C) at less than maximum coverage. Retirees not eligible to make a change during this open enrollment period are those who terminated SBP coverage between the 25th and 36th month following receipt of retired pay, or during the 17 May 98 to 16 May 99 Open Season for SBP termination. For more information, see

No Retirees’ TRICARE Fee Hikes – For Now
In a major concession, the Defense Department has told TRICARE contractors to cancel plans for an Oct. 1 increase in health care fees for military retirees under age 65. Read this story at:

TRICARE Standard Publication Released
For the first time, TRICARE Management Activity, (“TMA”) the DOD agency, has released a newsletter devoted to TRICARE Standard beneficiaries. The newsletter contains information on the Standard benefit including how to find TRICARE providers and filing claims. For a copy of the newsletter go to

TRICARE Dental Program for Guard and Reserve
The TRICARE Dental Program (TDP) is administered by United Concordia Companies Inc. (UCCI). Members of the National Guard and Reserve and their family members are eligible to sign up. UCCI is seeking to increase enrollment of junior enlisted members (E1-E4). To assist in this effort, UCCI has hired nine Dental Program Advisors (DPAs) across the United States who are available to brief Guard/Reserve personnel. For more information, visit United Concordia’s website at
This Web site is dedicated specifically to members of the Reserve Components.

Bill Would Offer Rural Vets Better Access to Healthcare
The estimated 5.7 million veterans living in rural areas far from veterans’ hospitals would get a chance at better health care under a bipartisan Senate bill. The Rural Veterans Care Act of 2006 would use a combination of pilot programs, coordination with other federal agencies and contracting with private-sector doctors to find ways of treating veterans closer to their homes. Read about this at:

Combat –Disabled Deserve Full Retirement Pay
Senator Reid vowed to continue his fight for full disability and retired pay for veterans who are eligible for both payments, with an effort to provide extra pay to those forced to retire from the military because of combat-related disabilities. Story details at:

Public Awareness Campaign Against Domestic Violence
The Department of Defense, in partnership with the National Domestic Violence Hotline (NDVH), is launching a public awareness campaign to "take a stand against domestic violence." This is an effort to educate soldiers and their families about domestic violence and link them to life-saving services. NDVH operates a hotline offering 24-hour crisis intervention, information, and referral for domestic violence victims and their families, in more than 140 languages. A teletypewriter line is available for the disabled. The hotline number is 1 (800) 799-7233. Visit the NDVH website at:

MBA Scholarships Offered to Illinois Active, Former Service Members
Illinois-based veterans and active-duty service members may qualify for scholarships valued at $74,000 that allow them to earn a masters degree in business from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Read story at:

Children’s Bracelet, Sold at PX, RECALLED!
Customers who received one of 300,000 Reebok “Heart Shaped Metal Charm Bracelets” as a free gift with children’s footwear should immediately take the charm bracelet away from children and dispose of it, according to the Consumer Product Safety Commission and Reebok International Ltd. Read the story at:

Dragon Slayer 6k Road Race Fund Raiser for Dad’s Liver Transplant
“I am the 14 year old daughter of a veteran with Hepatitis C. My Dad is waiting for a liver transplant which the VA refuses to pay for. I am trying to raise funds for research, raise awareness and raise funds for my Dad's transplant. You can read my dad's story under "Bob's story" and my story under "Katie's story”. People can be a sponsor, run, walk skip jump rope, etc. Everyone can help make a difference! Visit this site for all the race and story facts:

Beware of Fraudulent Coupons!
The Defense Commissary Agency (DeCA) recently updated its policy regarding the acceptance of Internet and home- printed coupons. DeCA gladly accepts Internet coupons printed at home provided they have “dot-scan” bars below the expiration date or bar codes with Product Identification Numbers (PIN). Internet and home printed coupons for free products are not accepted at commissaries. For more information click:

Cable Guy Hits U.S., OIF Theatres
Larry the Cable Guy sends message of support to returning Troops by screening his new Lionsgate film, Larry the Cable Guy: Health Inspector. The movie was shown to more than 700 troops on Operation Iraqi Freedom’s front lines at the same time it hit American theaters on March 24th. For film details click: