Military Retiree Health Care Faces a Triple Whammy

November 15, 2011

Quality of life and well-being, especially health care, directly affect the readiness of today’s AllVolunteer Force. In addition, today’s Soldiers (who are tomorrow’s retirees) observe and receive advice from current military retirees; therefore, retirees’ quality of life indirectly but powerfully affects the readiness of tomorrow’s force by influencing such factors as retention and recruiting of younger gen - erations. Health care remains a key factor in sus - taining the All-Volunteer Force.

The profession of arms is unique in comparison to civilian employment; it is more than a job. Mili - tary professionals earn unique long-term, deferred compensation in the form of health care benefits in return for their unique sacrifice. However, in three major areas this compensation is rapidly shrinking, and the aggregate impact has begun to yield serious consequences for military retirees at stages of their lives when they have little financial flexibility.