HomeAboutRetiree Activities Office

The Retiree Activities Office (RAO) acts as an interface between the active duty and retired communities. It keep retirees and their loved ones informed on matters related to their military status. It provides important information and vital services on issues regarding TRICARE, military ID cards, Survivor benefits, Death Reporting and much more.  The RAO also maintains a list of phone numbers, websites and e-mail addresses to assist retirees in their military affiliated endeavors. 

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Retiree Appreciation Day

The Retiree Activities Office (RAO) at Fairchild Air Force Base hosts a Retiree Appreciation Day (RAD) every year.  All retiree and their families are encouraged to attend.  The event usually includes a briefing by the Base Commander or his representative.  Personnel from the 92d Medical Group, Base Exchange, Commissary, Veterans Administration, Eastern Washington Veterans Cemetery and others will be there with information about their programs.  They also can an answer questions and provide assistance with any problems you may have.  Based on availability there may be blood pressure checks and mammograms.

The next RAD will be held on October 5, 2018 at the Army Reserve Center located at 300 E Eaker Ave.  Take the second left onto Eaker Ave. after entering through the Fairchild Main Gate. (Just before Heritage Park with the aircraft displays.)  Continue on Eaker Ave. to the east side of the Base. (Follow the Retiree Appreciation Day Signs)

Contact Us

Fairchild's RAO is located at 7 W Arnold St, Bldg 2040, Suite C2A. The office is open from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday through Friday.

Phone:  (509) 247-5359
Email:  rao.fairchild@us.af.mil    

Volunteers Wanted

The Fairchild AFB Retiree Activities Office is looking for volunteers.  Military retiree volunteers, their spouses and survivors staff the RAO desk. Our hours of operation are 0900 to 1400 hours Monday through Friday.  Volunteers assist retirees with several actions including serving as an information center for space-available travel, TriCare and base services, offering referrals for financial assistance, pay matters, and providing literature on retirement issues. You can volunteer for one day a month or as many days as you like. Working with your fellow retirees can be an enjoyable experience. It is a satisfying feeling knowing that you have helped a fellow retiree or survivor with their needs and problems. It is also great to get together and rub elbows with fellow retirees and their spouses all working together to help the local retired military community. For additional information about volunteering stop by and check us out or call(509) 247-5359 or e-mail us.

Hot Topics

HERE’S HOW THE 2018 TRICARE CHANGES IMPACT RETIREES

A series of changes to Tricare ushered in through a periodic contractor update or ordered by Congress have major impacts on current and future military retirees, including how they enroll in coverage and what they pay out of pocket.  Click Here to read the full Article.

TRICARE REFORM RULES

Military Update: Near-final regulations released last week by the Defense Health Agency (DHA) to implement sweeping TRICARE reforms on Jan. 1 include a surprise restructuring of appointment fees for active duty families, and retirees under 65 and their families, who get their health care outside of military treatment facilities.  Click Here to read the full Article.

Retiree's Newsletters


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The September 2017 Fairchild RAO Newsletter (Vol 17 Edition 01) is now available at: <a href="http://www.fairchild.af.mil/Portals/23/documents/RAO%20Newsletters/Newsletter%20V17-E01.pdf?ver=2017" target="_blank">http://www.fairchild.af.mil/Portals/23/documents/RAO%20Newsletters/Newsletter%20V17-E01.pdf?ver=2017</a>
Annual Consent for Automatic Prescription Refills Begins Sept. 1 Beginning Sept. 1, 2017, Express Scripts will need annual consent from patients who want to receive automatic refills of their maintenance medications enrolled in TRICARE Pharmacy Home Delivery. This means that just before one of your prescriptions runs out of refills, Express Scripts will reach out to you to know if you would like your doctor to be contacted to renew the prescription and if you’d like to continue in the Automatic Refill program. If not, Express Scripts will not refill your prescription. This new process gives beneficiaries more control over their medications and keeps the convenience of automatic refills. It also makes it easier to opt out of the Auto Refill program and helps to prevent beneficiaries from receiving medications that they no longer need or shouldn’t receive. Express Scripts will not re-enroll your medication unless they hear from you. You have several ways to respond: • Online at Express-Scripts.com/TRICARE • Via the automated phone call from Express Scripts • By calling an Express Scripts Patient Care Advocate (PCA) at 1-877-363-1303 If Express Scripts does not receive your consent within 10 days of reaching out to you, they will remove your medication from the Auto Refill program. However, re-enrolling is simple. You can re-enroll your medication at any time online, or through a PCA.
U.S. Passport Rules Are Changing – Here is What You Need to Know Courtesy www.guidester.com/passport-changes Don’t get caught – I had tickets in hand and when I went to check in was informed of the 6-month rule (even just to Pohnpei); even after an hour on the phone, there was nothing I could do except turn around and go home; then had to work to Renew my passport as well as get my tickets changed to a different date. Many people are also unaware of the 6-month validity rule that many countries have adopted, including almost all countries in Europe. If you arrive in one of these countries and your passport is set to expire in the next 6 months, you may be denied entry. Passport changes are coming, and if you plan on traveling in the future you need to know what passport changes are in store. While it is normally easy to acquire or renew a passport if and when you plan a trip, the State Department says there’s about to be a massive backlog of passport applications. Plus, passports themselves are going to change. Here’s what you should know about both the expected passport application delays and the passport changes coming in the years ahead. Renew your passport now | You can expect a longer wait for passport applications and renewals starting this year. There were 14.5 million passport renewal requests last year and 20 million requests are expected in 2017 and 2018. You can find detailed instructions on how to renew or apply for your passport online through the State Department. Many people are also unaware of the 6-month validity rule that many countries have adopted, including almost all countries in Europe. If you arrive in one of these countries and your passport is set to expire in the next 6 months, you may be denied entry. All the more reason to work on getting your passport renewed as soon as possible. The Real I.D. Act | The REAL ID Act, passed in 2005 and coming into effect January of 2018, established a set of federal security standards for state driver’s licenses that require specific information and machine-readable technology. Travelers using IDs issued by certain states could be turned away at the gate beginning in 2017, if their state does not adjust to the new standards or have an extension. According to the Department of Homeland Security, after 2020, absolutely all travelers on U.S. domestic flights must comply with the REAL ID Act. Stricter rules for application | As of November, 2016 glasses are no longer allowed in passport photos. The State Department sent away thousands of applications due to poor passport photos, so make sure that you adhere to rules and guidelines for passport photos. Passports are getting a makeover, inside and out | A new passport makeover was introduced in July of 2016, and perhaps the biggest change is a new chip being installed inside passports. The chip is featured on the information page, will be machine-readable, and contains key biometric data on each traveler. There are other changes as well, such as fewer passport pages. The new passport will also be sealed with a special coating which will protect the book from getting wet and keep it from bending. New security features | Passports will now include added technology to ensure security and decrease fraud. Catching up with many other countries, U.S. passport changes mean that new passports will include a data chip that can provide all your personal info upon scanning it onto a computer. According to the State Department there will be even more advanced technological features and forensic devices coming in the future.
WASHINGTON STATE’S NEW DISTRACTED DRIVING LAW By ELIZABETH C CONANT MSgt USAF AMC 92 FSS/CCF Effective 23 July 2017, drivers in Washington State will be subjected to more stringent laws regarding hand held devices. This includes composing or reading any kind of message, picture, or data while driving. Drivers are also forbidden to use handheld devices while at a stop sign or red-light signal. Photography while driving is also illegal. The new law permits “minimal use of a finger” to activate an app or device. The DUIE is a primary offense. A police officer can pull someone over just for using a handheld device. The standard traffic fine of $136 which would nearly double to $235 on the second distracted-driving citation. Distracted-driving citations will be reported on a motorist’s record for use by the insurance industry. Miscellaneous distractions such as grooming or eating will be a secondary offense, meaning a ticket may be issued if a law-enforcement officer pulls you over for some other offense, such as speeding or a dangerous lane change. The penalty will be an extra $30. Drivers may still use a smartphone mounted in a dashboard cradle, for instance to use a navigation app, but not to watch video. Built-in electronic systems, such as hands-free calling and maps, remains legal under this new legislation. Calls to 911 or other emergency services are legal, as are urgent calls between transit employees and dispatchers. Amateur radio equipment and citizens-band radio, remain legal. Handheld devices may be used if the driver has pulled off the roadway or traffic lanes, where the vehicle “can safely remain stationary.” – We suggest the vehicle be placed in the ‘Park’ position. Please share this information with people who might not otherwise receive this information. Also remember the reason for not driving distracted is not to avoid a fine, it is because more serious accidents and vehicle accident fatalities increase when a driver is driving distracted. Your life is too precious to risk the distraction, put it away until your vehicle is parked.
Skyfest Premier Night Premier Night will be on Friday July 28th, open ONLY to DoD ID card holders! Party starts at 5 p.m. and will have FREE Street Tacos, FREE live music, meet the performers, appearance by the Thunderbirds, and Craft beers will be available for purchase! Then Saturday & Sunday, July 29th & 30th Skyfest 2017! Gates open to the public at 9 a.m., acts will perform from 11 a.m. - 4 p.m..
COMMISSARY BRANDS ARE COMING Military.com | Week of May 29, 2017 Commissary brands will soon debut on store shelves. Commissaries in the United States will see an initial roll out at the end of May with bottled water and later in June with plastic bags and paper products. Stores in overseas areas are expected to see commissary brand items in September. Commissary brand products will be equal or lower in price to commercial grocery store brands. The Defense Commissary Agency&#39;s (DeCA&#39;s) commissary brand will be sold under two names: Freedom&#39;s Choice for food items and HomeBase for nonfood items such as paper products and other household items. For more information on DeCA&#39;s commissary brand program, visit DeCA&#39;s Private Label FAQ webpage (http://commissaries.com/documents/contact_deca/faqs/private-label.cfm).
FLAG ETIQUETTE ON MEMORIAL DAY In Accordance with the Flag Code Section (3m) the US flag is to be displayed at half-staff from sunrise until noon and at full-staff from noon until sunset.
ONLINE ID CARD SERVICES AVAILABLE FOR RETIREES Retired Airmen can now complete tasks online that were normally done in person at an ID card office using IDCO, or ID Card Office Online. IDCO is a self-service application developed at the Defense Manpower Data Center that allows retirees to perform a myriad of tasks such as updating a family member’s contact information and authorizing an ID card replacement. Retired sponsors with a valid Department of Defense self-service logon credential, called a DS Logon, may now perform all family member transactions using IDCO, including electronically signing the DD Form 1172-2, Application for Identification Card/DEERS Enrollment, for their family members online. Once electronically signed, the family member may visit his or her local ID card office and be issued an ID card without their sponsor present. The ID Card Office Online web application is accessible from milConnect at http://milconnect.dmdc.mil. Retired Service Members may obtain a DS Logon account at an ID card facility during the ID card issuing process; online anytime at https://myaccess.dmdc.osd.mil/; or by visiting a participating Veterans Affairs regional office. Go to http://benefits.va.gov/benefits/ to locate the nearest VA regional office online. Locations for the nearest ID card issuing facility can be found at https://www.dmdc.osd.mil/rsl/. In addition to IDCO, DS Logon provides retirees access to more than 30 partner websites such as myPay, TRICARE Online and eBenefits.
DHA: TRANSITION TO NEW TRICARE CONTRACT DELAYED ) During a recent meeting of the Military Health System (MHS) MSO/VSO Executive Council, attended by FRA National Executive Director Thomas Snee, the Defense Health Agency (DHA) announced the transition to the new TRICARE contract will be delayed from Oct. 1, 2017, to Jan. 1, 2018. The new contract reduces TRICARE from three regions -- North, South and West -- to two, East and West. Humana Health Insurance Company will manage the East and Health Net Inc., will manage the West. The delay aligns the rollout of the new regions and contractors with the transition to TRICARE Select, which will replace TRICARE Extra and TRICARE Standard. This alignment will reduce disruption of care for TRICARE recipients.
NATIONAL PRESCRIPTION DRUG TAKE-BACK DAY The National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day is 29 Apr and aims to provide a safe, convenient and responsible means of disposing of prescription drugs. The drop locations will be the Base Exchange lobby or Visitor Control Center. For questions contact Investigator Ngiraked, 247-5868.
ADDRESSES CHANGES FOR DFAS CUSTOMERS The Defense Finance and Accounting Service mailing addresses for retired and annuitant pay are changing May 1. Mail sent via the U.S. Postal Service will be sent to Indianapolis where it will be processed and sent electronically to the DFAS facility in Cleveland. The new addresses for retired pay is: Defense Finance and Accounting Service U.S. Military Retired Pay 8899 E 56th Street Indianapolis IN 46249-1200 The new addresses for annuitant pay is: Defense Finance and Accounting Service U.S. Military Retired Pay 8899 E 56th Street Indianapolis IN 46249-1300 Rather than have difference post office boxes as in the past, the difference now is reflected in the different ZIP codes. As of May 1, the previous post office boxes in London, Kentucky, will no longer be valid for mailing transactions.
Medicare and TRICARE: How to Keep Your TRICARE Coverage By taking a few simple steps, retirees can make sure they have their TRICARE benefits after they turn 65. Four months before your 65th birthday, you will receive a postcard from the Defense Manpower Data Center (DMDC), the office that supports the Defense Enrollment Eligibility Reporting System (DEERS) A database of information on uniformed services members (sponsors), U.S.-sponsored foreign military, DoD and uniformed services civilians, other personnel as directed by the DoD, and their family members. You need to register in DEERS to get TRICARE, with information about keeping TRICARE coverage after age 65. You must have Medicare Part A and Medicare Part B to be eligible for TRICARE for Life. TRICARE for Life is Medicare wrap-around coverage for TRICARE beneficiaries who are entitled to Medicare Part A and have Medicare Part B regardless of where you live or your age. The Medicare initial enrollment period length is seven months. If you miss your initial enrollment period, your next chance to sign up for Medicare Part B is during the general enrollment period, Jan. 1 to March 31. Your coverage will begin July 1st, and your monthly premium for Part B may go up 10% for each 12-month period that you could have had Part B, but didn’t sign up for it. Also, there will be a lapse in your TRICARE coverage until Part B is effective. Sign up for Part B no later than two months before your 65th birthday! If you do not receive a postcard from DMDC, call them at 1-800-538-9552.
Private Label Brands Coming to Commissaries Commissary customers worldwide will start seeing private label products on their stores’ shelves in May 2017, with an initial assortment of about 400 items, officials announced today. Defense Commissary Agency officials announced they have selected MDV SpartanNash, a long-time distributor of products to commissaries and exchanges, to supply the private label products to commissaries. They conducted “a rigorous selection process” to identify the supplier for the products, according to the announcement. Private label products are sometimes referred to as “generic” products, usually costing less than national name brands. Many other grocer retailers offer private-label products, sold under their own, in-house brand or under a brand developed by their suppliers. That includes the military exchanges, who have developed their own lines of private label products. Over the next few months the commissary agency will work with SpartanNash to decide on an initial assortment. That assortment of about 400 items will be available to commissaries worldwide in May 2017 and will continue to grow to about 1,000 items by the end of 2017, officials said. Over the next two years, they’ll add more products. “Our customers have been asking for private label for a long time,” said Joseph Jeu, DeCA’s director and CEO, in the announcement. He cited a DeCA patron survey in which 60 percent of respondents said they would like to see commissaries offer private label products. “They are smart, savvy shoppers who know that private label products are cost-effective alternatives to national brands,” Jeu said. “We’re excited to help them save more at our commissaries.”
TRICARE Reminds Beneficiaries: Protect Your Personal Information Don’t wait for fraud against TRICARE beneficiaries to be in the news. Always protect your personal information! Whether you’re active duty or retired, don’t share your uniformed service identification card, or personal or family information with someone you don’t know. Protecting your personal information is vital to your privacy, and prevents abuse of taxpayer dollars. Fraudsters often target TRICARE beneficiaries. For example, they conduct fake surveys to collect personal information. They call saying they know you have TRICARE and want to let you know you qualify for a free or low cost knee brace or walker. They then bill TRICARE for services or supplies you don’t need and never get. No one from TRICARE will ever recommend a particular product or medicine. If someone does, don't share any personal information. If you think you’re the victim of TRICARE-related fraud, report it to the Defense Health Agency. Also, report when you think a provider or company is trying to defraud TRICARE. For example, if your TRICARE explanation of benefits (EOB) shows a charge for services you didn’t get, tell your TRICARE Regional Contractor. TRICARE won’t just call or email you asking for personal identifying information, such as your uniformed service ID number, social security number, or Department of Defense benefits number. Only give that kind of information to a trusted person or office, like your doctor, a TRICARE claims processer or regional contractor. Be wary of an unknown person offering a gift or reward in exchange for a health service. They may be trying to commit fraud.
HAPPY THANKSGIVING May this holiday season bring you love to your heart, health to your body, and peace and joy to your home throughout the new year.
FLU SHOTS They are now available at Fairchild Medical Group for Retirees.
TRICARE to Expand Preventive Service Coverage Effective Jan.1, 2017, TRICARE will cover annual preventive office visits for all Prime beneficiaries 6 years of age and older. Children under 6 are already covered by existing well-child coverage. This will ensure children in developing stages receive observation, physical examination, screening, immunizations, and various counseling services. TRICARE Standard beneficiaries can receive preventive services with no cost-share or copayment through Health Promotion and Disease Prevention (HP&DP) examinations (i.e. in connection with a covered immunization or cancer screening). Additionally, the annual well-woman exam will continue to be covered for all Prime and Standard beneficiaries under age 65 with no cost-share or copayment. The new covered services include free genetic counseling by a TRICARE-authorized provider. An authorized provider is any individual, institution/organization, or supplier that is licensed by a state, accredited by national organization, or meets other standards of the medical community, and is certified to provide benefits under TRICARE. There are two types of TRICARE-authorized providers: Network and Non-Network. before BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene testing for women who are identified as high risk for breast cancer by their primary care providers as well as the BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene testing for women who meet the coverage guidelines under the existing laboratory developed test (LDT) demonstration project. TRICARE will also cover stool DNA testing (e.g., Cologuard™) once every 3 years starting at age 50 for those who have an average risk of colon cancer. The effective date of Cologuard coverage is June 21, 2016. If you have recently received any of these services, please be sure to save your receipts and file a claim. The regional contractors will be ready to process claims for the new preventive benefits on Nov. 14, 2016, the implementation date of this change. The implementation date is the date the contractor must be ready to communicate and process claims for this benefit.
TRICARE Expands Coverage for Treatment of Congestive Heart Failure October 19, 2016 Congestive Heart Failure is now a covered diagnosis under the TRICARE cardiac rehabilitation benefit. Providers of cardiac rehabilitation services must be TRICARE-authorized hospitals or freestanding cardiac rehabilitation facilities. All cardiac rehabilitation services must be ordered by a physician.
Flu Shots The FluMist will not be available at Department of Defense (DoD) facilities or covered by TRICARE during the 2016-17 flu season. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommended against using FluMist this year, due to several studies showing it is not effective in preventing flu among certain age groups. This season, the DoD’s entire supply of flu vaccine will be injectable. It is recommended for everyone, ages six months and older.

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