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Proposed Rule

TRICARE; Expansion of Geographic Scope of the TRICARE Retiree Dental Program (TRDP)

Document Details

Information about this document as published in the Federal Register.

Published Document

This document has been published in the Federal Register. Use the PDF linked in the document sidebar for the official electronic format.

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AGENCY:

Office of the Secretary, DoD.

ACTION:

Proposed rule.

SUMMARY:

This proposed rule expands the geographic scope of the TRICARE Retiree Dental Program (TRDP) to overseas locations not currently covered by the program. At this time, TRDP is only applicable in the 50 United States and the District of Columbia, Canada, Puerto Rico, Guam, American Samoa, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Expanding the geographic scope of the program will ensure that all TRICARE-eligible retirees are eligible for the same dental benefits, regardless of their location. There are no additional Government costs associated with this proposed expansion of TRDP overseas as TRDP costs are borne entirely by enrollees through premium payments.

DATES:

Written comments received at the address indicated below by June 15, 2007 will be accepted.

ADDRESSES:

You may submit comments, identified by docket number and/or RIN number and title, by any of the following methods:

  • Federal eRulemaking Portal: http://www.regulations.gov. Follow the instructions for submitting comments.
  • Mail: Federal Docket Management System Office, 1160 Defense Pentagon, Washington, DC 20301-1160.

Instructions: All submissions received must include the agency name and docket number or Regulatory Information Number (RIN) for this Federal Register document. The general policy for comments and other submissions from members of the public is to make these submissions available for public viewing on the Internet at http://regulations.gov as they are received without change, including any personal identifiers or contact information.

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FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Debra Hatzel, Program Requirements Division, TRICARE Management Activity, telephone (303) 676-3572.Start Printed Page 18928

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SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

This proposed rule expands the geographic scope of TRDP to overseas locations not currently covered by the program. Although 10 U.S.C. 1076c, does not restrict the geographic availability of the TRDP, per 32 CFR 199.22(b)(3), TRDP is currently limited to the 50 United States and the District of Columbia, Canada, Puerto Rico, Guam, American Samoa, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Expanding the geographic scope of the program will ensure that all TRICARE-eligible retirees are eligible for the same dental benefits, regardless of their location. This expansion of the geographic scope of the TRDP program is based upon feedback from the TRICARE-eligible retiree community which indicated that there is a demand for this program in all overseas locations.

Although the TRDP is administered in a manner similar to the TDP, there are significant differences in program funding. TDP costs are shared for two of the four eligible categories of TDP enrollees between the enrollees and the Department of Defense; however, for the other two categories of TDP enrollees, and all TRDP enrollees, costs are borne entirely by enrollees through premium payments. Enrollees are also responsible for any dental costs in excess of the TRDP coverage limits, and the contractor is solely responsible for any program costs in excess of annual premium payments.

Therefore, there are no additional Government costs associated with this proposed expansion of TRDP coverage overseas. Specific methods of TRDP program administration, payment rates and procedures, provider licensure and certification requirements, and other program elements may differ by location to the extent necessary for the effective and efficient operation of the plan. These differences may include, but are not limited to, specific provisions for preauthorization of care, varying licensure and certification requirements for foreign providers, and other differences based on limitations in the availability and capabilities of the Uniformed Services overseas dental treatment facilities and a particular nation's civilian sector providers in certain areas.

Regulatory Procedures

Executive Order 12866 directs agencies to assess all costs and benefits available, regulatory alternatives and, when regulation is necessary, to select regulatory approaches that maximize net benefits (including potential economic, environmental, public health and safety, and other advantages; distributive impacts; and equity. The Order classifies a rule as a significant regulatory action requiring review by the Office of Management and Budget if it meets any one of a number of specified conditions, including having an annual effect on the national economy of $100 million or more, creating a serious inconsistency or interfering with an action of another agency, materially altering the budgetary impact of entitlements or the rights of entitlement recipients, or raising novel legal or policy issues. DoD has examined the economic, legal, and policy implications of this proposed rule and has concluded that it is a significant regulatory action because it may raise novel legal or policy issues of enhancing the dental health of military retirees and their dependents who reside overseas. The changes set forth in the proposed rule to the existing regulation do not change the basic TRDP benefit structure.

Regulatory Flexibility Act (RFA) requires that each Federal Agency prepare and make available for public comment, a regulatory flexibility analysis when the agency issues a Regulation which would have a significant impact on a substantial number of small entities. This proposed rule does not have a significant impact on small entities.

This proposed rule is not a major rule under the Congressional Review Act because its economic impact will be less than $100 million.

Executive Order 13132 requires that each Federal Agency shall consult with State and local officials and obtain their input if a rule has federalism implications which have substantial direct effects on the States, on the relationship between the national government and the States, or on the distribution of power and responsibilities among the various levels of government. We have examined the impact of the proposed rule under Executive Order 13132 and it does not have policies that have federalism implications that would have substantial direct effects on the States, on the relationship between the national government and the States, or on the distribution of power and responsibilities among the various levels of government; therefore, consultation with State and local officials is not required. This rule contains a collection-of-information requirement subject to the Paperwork Reduction Act (PRA) of 1995 (44 U.S.C. 3501-3511) and which has been approved by OMB under control number 0720-0015. This rule will not change this requirement, but will only increase the number of beneficiaries who are eligible to enroll in the TDRP by approximately 100,000 people. Public reporting burden for this collection of information is estimated to average 15 minutes per response, including the time for reviewing instructions, searching existing data sources, gathering and maintaining the data needed, and completing and reviewing the collection of information. Send comments regarding this burden estimate or any other aspect of this data collection, including suggestions for reducing the burden, to Department of Defense, Washington Headquarters Service, Directorate for Information Operations and Reports (0720-0015), 1215 Jefferson Davis Highway, Suite 1204, Arlington, VA 22202-4302. Respondents should be aware that notwithstanding any other provision of law, no person is required to respond to, nor shall any person be subject to a penalty for failure to comply with, a collection of information subject to the requirements of the PRA, unless that collection of information displays a currently valid OMB Control Number.

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List of Subjects in 32 CFR Part 199

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Accordingly, 32 CFR part 199 is proposed to be amended as follows:

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PART 199—[AMENDED]

1. The authority citation for part 199 continues to read as follows:

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Authority: 5 U.S.C. 301; 10 U.S.C. chapter 55.

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2. Section 199.22 is amended by revising paragraph (b)(3) to read as follows:

TRICARE Retiree Dental Program (TRDP).
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(b) * * *

(3) Geographic scope. (i) The TRDP is applicable to authorized providers in the 50 United States and the District of Columbia, Canada, Puerto Rico, Guam, American Samoa, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

(ii) The Assistant Secretary of Defense (Health Affairs) (ASD(HA)) may extend the TRDP to geographic areas other than those specified in paragraph (b)(3)(i) of this section. In extending the TRDP overseas, the ASD(HA), or designee, is authorized to establish program elements, methods of administration, and payment rates and procedures that are different from those in effect for the Start Printed Page 18929areas specified in paragraph (b)(3)(i) of this section to the extent the ASD(HA), or designee, determines necessary for the effective and efficient operation of the TRDP. These differences may include, but are not limited to, specific provisions for preauthorization of care, varying licensure and certification requirements for foreign providers, and other differences based on limitations in the availability and capabilities of the Uniformed Services overseas dental treatment facilities and a particular nation's civilian sector providers in certain areas. The Director, TRICARE Management Activity shall issue guidance, as necessary, to implement the provisions of this paragraph. TRDP enrollees residing in overseas locations will be eligible for the same benefits as enrollees residing in the continental United States, although dental services may not be available or accessible in all locations.

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Dated: April 10, 2007.

L.M. Bynum,

Alternate OSD Federal Register Liaison Officer, Department of Defense.

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[FR Doc. E7-7132 Filed 4-13-07; 8:45 am]

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