TRICARE, the Defense Department’s managed health-care plan, is temporarily freezing enrollments. The agency will resume enrollments once its three regions are consolidated into two, under the impending reorganization that will take effect Jan. 1. Beneficiaries still will have access to care during the freeze. TRICARE advises them to save any pharmacy or health-care receipts, in case they need to be submitted for reimbursement once their enrollment is processed.

Persons who have not yet enrolled on line as of Nov. 20 cannot do so. However, TRICARE still will accept enrollments via telephone or mail, through beneficiaries’ regional contractors. Details about how to submit enrollments during the freeze are available online at TRICARE.mil/changes/enroll. Click “Related Downloads” in the right hand column, and then click “Take Command Enrollment Freeze.”

Under the changes, TRICARE Select will replace both TRICARE Standard and TRICARE Extra at the beginning of the New Year. All other plans, including TRICARE Prime, will be rolled over.

Current beneficiaries will transition to the new plan automatically. New service members are automatically enrolled in TRICARE Prime.
Those who are not yet enrolled should take steps to ensure that they get the plan they want. Some suggestions:

* Update personal information in the Defense Enrollment Eligibility Reporting System (DEERS).
* Have a current DS Logon.
* Sign up to receive email notifications via eCorrespondence, in milConnect.
* Sign up for updates about TRICARE benefits.

Beneficiaries also should be aware that enrollment fees are going to change when the new plan takes effect. Cost next year will resemble civilian health-care plans than they currently do. Some fees already began to change, as of Oct. 1. Beneficiaries who reach their catastrophic cap or deductible before Dec. 31 will not have to pay any additional costs. But new deductibles and catastrophic caps are going to take effect in 2018.