Service members are getting a 2.1-percent increase in basic pay as of Jan. 1 under the 2017 defense-spending bill, which President Obama signed into law Dec. 23. The web site Militarybenefits.info reports that other key provisions affecting all service members include:
• An increase on the basic allowance for housing (BAH) that averages 2.4 percent.
• Increases in strength for the Army, Air Force and Marine Corps. (The Navy would hold stead at its present strength level.)
• Changes in TRICARE, the Defense Department’s managed health-care system, which would translate into higher co-payments in future years for service members who join in 2018 and beyond.
• Telehealth would expand for service members and veterans.