Here Comes Trouble: Stories from My Life

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Soldier's Letters

February 1st, 2005 7:49 PM

"PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE, if you are given this story DO NOT REENLIST!"

From: aaronb
Sent: Tuesday, February 01, 2005 10:42 PM
To: soldiers@michaelmoore.com
Subject: army con artist

Mr. Moore,

I would like to start by saying that I think what you are doing for the "troops" is probably the most supportive thing any one human being could do during this troubled time. I would like to tell you my story, and I hope that it can help other soldiers in my position.

I am a specialist in the US Army, I have served four years on active duty, and I am separating from the service later this month. Earlier this year my wife and I had a baby girl. Unfortunately, she was diagnosed with cystic fibrosis, which is a genetic disease which affects the lungs. Her life expectancy is about 30 years old. When she was born she required surgery which kept her in the hospital for about a month. As you can probably imagine, this was quite expensive. I wasn't worried about paying for it because I assumed military insurance (TRICARE) would cover it. I went along with that assumption for the next few months, but about 2 weeks before I was scheduled to ETS, I made a routine trip to the tricare office at the base hospital. When I arrived there and showed them an outstanding bill from the hospital where my daughter had the surgery, which showed an outstanding balance of 127,000 dollars, I was informed that that bill must be paid by me personally because I was required to pay 20% of any medical bill from any hospital or clinic not in the military system. When I asked the clerk what my options were for payment, she informed me that I either pay the bill in full, or reenlist and the bill would be paid for by the army. I couldn't believe what I was hearing, so I left the office without saying another word, went home, and called the 1 800 number for tricare. The representative assured me that the clerks statements were entirely false and that my insurance policy had a catastrophic cap of 1000 dollars. While I have no proof, I believe that the clerk from the office at the hospital (who was a civilian) was receiving some type of payment to try and con soldiers with exceptional family members into reenlisting. I am considering obtaining legal counsel on this matter, but I doubt I have a case. I just wanted to write this to make sure it never happens to anyone else. PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE, if you are given this story DO NOT REENLIST! Contact the tricare hotline before doing anything based on what you are told. I hope that this has not happened to anyone else, but I fear that is not true.

Thank you for your help,
A soldier for peace

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