Cover: The Demand for Military Health Care

The Demand for Military Health Care

Supporting Research for a Comprehensive Study of the Military Health Care System

Published 1995

by Susan D. Hosek, Bruce W. Bennett, Joan L. Buchanan, M. Susan Marquis, Kimberly A. McGuigan, Janet M. Hanley, Rodger Madison, Afshin Rastegar, Jennifer Hawes-Dawson


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For a number of reasons, military beneficiaries — active-duty service members, military retirees, and their dependents — are heavier users of medical care than are comparable civilian populations. These services are currently provided by military treatment facilities (MTFs) or the civilian medical facilities, the latter through the Civilian Health and Medical Program of the Uniformed Services (CHAMPUS). However, over the past several years, the system has faced the twin challenges of downsizing in consonance with the rest of the Department of Defense and of controlling escalating health care costs. While care provided in the civilian sector can be more expensive than that provided in the MTFs, the free care available in MTFs sparks greater demand. Moreover, the MTF system was designed to meet wartime, rather than peacetime needs. In weighing the pros and cons of various alternatives, this report suggests that beneficiaries might prefer civilian health plans, as long as there is no erosion of benefits in making such a shift.

The research described in this report was sponsored by the Office of the Secretary of Defense under RAND's National Defense Research Institute, a federally funded research and development center supported by the Office of the Secretary of Defense, the Joint Staff, and the defense agencies.

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