By Dimitra Lavrakas
For Senior Voice 

Alaskan veterans served and deserve services


May 1, 2024 | View PDF

In 2022, there were 53,692 veterans living in Alaska, making it the number one state with retired American military.

While that's a 25.25 percent decrease since 2012, the statewide population total of 733,583 state population of that same year, means 10.10 percent of the adult civilian population in Alaska were considered veterans.

Looking after soldiers

Joint Base Elmendorf/Richardson Retired Soldiers Council has a free newsletter, “Soldier for Life,” which can be viewed on its Facebook page at or emailed on request. Here is a sample from their latest news:

TRICARE insurance has some 2024 updates for beneficiary out-of-pocket expenses and enrollment fees.

1. The TRICARE Prime and TRICARE Select beneficiary out-of-pocket expenses for calendar year 2024 was effective Jan. 1, 2024. Federal statute and corresponding implementing regulations established rates for TRICARE beneficiary out-of-pocket expenses and how these expenses may be increased by the annual cost of living adjustment percentage used to increase military retired pay or via budget neutrality rules. The retiree COLA for 2024 is 3.1 percent.

2. Tricare Prime: Annual enrollment fees for those in Group A will increase from $351.96 to $363 for the year for individuals; families’ costs will increase from $703.92 to $726. For those in Group B, the individual’s cost goes from $426 to $438.96; and families’ costs go from $852 to $879.

3. Tricare Select: Annual enrollment fees for those in Group A will go from $171.96 for individuals to $177.96; and for families, from $345 to $355.92. For those in Group B, the fee will go from $547.92 for individuals to $564.96; for families, from $1,095.96 to $1,131.

4. Tricare Young Adult: For TYA Prime, an increase of 11.8 percent to $637 a month, compared to the current $570 a month. For TYA Select, the monthly premium increases to $311, a 6.9 percent increase from the $291 in 2023.

5. Tricare Reserve Select: The monthly premiums increase by 7.2 percent for both individual service member coverage and family coverage. It increases to $51.95 for the individual, from the $48.47 in 2023. For the family option, the premium is $256.87, up from $239.69 in 2023.

6. Tricare Retired Reserve: The premiums increase by 6.5 percent for both individual and family coverage. For individuals, it increases to $585.24, up from $549.35 in 2023. For the Tricare Retired Reserve family, it’s $1,406.22 starting in 2024, up from the $1,320.76 in 2023.

You can find more information at and search for the article on new TRICARE rates.

Get the word out

The Retired Soldier Council’s February 2024 newsletter put out a request for people to help soldiers without emails stay informed about benefits and happenings by ensuring they receive the newsletter.

The council figures there’s about 1,200 retired soldiers or surviving spouses in the JBER Garrison area of its operations, but has less than 500 email addresses.

The council is currently not sending out information by regular mail, so those without email are missing out and do not know who to contact with a problem or answers to questions they may have.

The council urges residents to talk to retired friends to make sure they are receiving the newsletter and if not, print and give them a copy. And if they have email, but are not on the council’s mailing list, tell them to contact Darryl Morgan at or call 907-384-3500 to be added to the distribution list.

A day at JBER for retiree vets

The JBER Retiree Appreciation Day is scheduled for Saturday, May 4, at the Arctic Warrior Events Center at 9387 Kutner Avenue in Anchorage, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Guest Speaker is Mr. Verdie Bowen, director of the Office of Veteran’s Affairs. Since 2009, Bowen has been responsible for the development and establishment of polices and strategic plans that directly affect over 230,000 Alaskans, including all Alaska veterans, active duty, reserve components, dependents, and survivors living in the state’s 348 communities.

There’s a free health fair offering blood pressure screening, preventive care and health and wellness information, as well as information from TRICARE Humana and Medicare.

Many exhibitors will be on hand, along with food trucks. The event is free and open to all military retirees, those transitioning into retirement, their spouses, and active-duty military.

For more information on available services, call 907-334-0874 or 888-248-3682. You can also go to the website at or email


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