Metro-East News

Roger That: Tricare changes could force military families to pay more

Mike Fitzgerald can be reached at
Mike Fitzgerald can be reached at

Easier access to urgent care, higher pharmacy co-pays and a coordinated formulary between the Defense and Veterans Affairs departments are among the changes service members, families and retirees will see in health care as a result of the fiscal 2016 defense authorization bill, according to Military Times.

If the legislation gets past a threatened veto from President Barack Obama over unrelated issues, Tricare beneficiaries will see an uptick in co-payments for prescription medications at retail pharmacies and by mail once the bill, HR 1735, becomes law.

Islamic State recruiting among U.S. residents drops off

After tracking alarming spikes in U.S. recruits to the ranks of the Islamic State terrorist group, FBI Director James Comey said Thursday the number in recent months appears to be slowing down, according to USA Today.

The drop-off, Comey said, may be due to the aggressive federal prosecution of dozens of U.S. suspects, many of whom have been convicted and sentenced to lengthy prison terms. Comey suggested that potential recruits, often disaffected young people drawn to the terror group’s far-flung social media campaign, are increasingly recognizing the risks associated with pledging their allegiance to the Islamic State, also known as ISIS or ISIL, and the difficult conditions they are bound to confront if they make it to the battlefield in Syria.

Letters to be sent to job applicants who were hacked

Millions of Americans who applied to work for the federal government — whether they were eventually hired or not — will get letters in the mail within the next 12 weeks confirming that their personal information was stolen, according to the Federal Times.

On Sept. 30, the Office of Personnel Management shipped the first set of notices to the estimated 21.5 million affected by the breach of its networks.

Over the next three months, those affected will receive a letter detailing the identity protection and credit monitoring services being offered and an individual PIN to be used to enroll.

The protection services are being offered through ID Experts, the contractors chosen off of the General Services Administration’s new breach response blanket purchase agreement.

Concerns over ejection seat in F-35

Concern is mounting on Capitol Hill after recent tests revealed a lightweight F-35 pilot’s neck could snap when ejecting at certain speeds, according to a report in DefenseNews.

The fears focus on the Martin-Baker US16E ejection seat. During testing of the new Generation 3 helmet this summer, testers discovered the risk of fatal neck injury when a lighter pilot ejects during slower-speed flights, according to a source with knowledge of the program. Testers discovered the ejection snapped the necks of lighter-weight test dummies, the source said.

Until the problem is fixed, the U.S. military services decided to restrict pilots weighing under 136 pounds from operating the plane, Defense News first reported Oct. 1.

Mike Fitzgerald: 618-239-2533, @MikeFitz3000