TRICARE, the Defense Department’s managed health-care plan for service members, their dependent families and retirees, will undergo several important changes on Jan. 1. The agency urges beneficiaries to be ready for these new wrinkles, and ensure their coverage will remain uninterrupted.
Beneficiaries who need to complete any of the following enrollment actions should do so by Nov. 20. This will ensure that their health-care coverage will continue unimpeded.
TRICARE will undergo an administrative shift at the beginning of 2018, to two regional contractors (from the present three). This means beneficiaries who pay their premiums via electronic funds transfer or a scheduled payment from a debit or credit account could be asked to update their payment information. Beneficiaries who pay their premiums through deductions directly from their Defense Finance and Accounting Service (DFAS) allotments will not be affected — their payments will continue without interruption.
TRICARE Prime beneficiaries will continue to be covered under that plan after Jan. 1, whether they live stateside or overseas.
Persons enrolled in TRICARE Standard or TRICARE Extra as of the end of this year will move to the new TRICARE Select program, which will replace them on Jan. 1.
Here are some points to keep in mind:
* All beneficiaries should make sure their Defense Enrollment Eligibility Reporting Systems (DEERS) information is up to date. Beneficiaries who have experienced marriage, birth, death or divorce among persons covered under their plan need to update their DEERS files accordingly with this information.
* If you are already enrolled in a TRICARE plan, your coverage will move to your new TRICARE plan on Jan. 1.
* If you are enrolled in any TRICARE premium-based plan as of the end of this year, you do not have to do anything else to remain covered as long as you continue to make your premium payments. Included here are the TRICARE Young Adult, Reserve Select, and Retired Reserve plans.
* No changes are scheduled for TRICARE For Life.
* New service members entering active duty automatically are enrolled in TRICARE Prime or TRICARE Prime Remote (if they live in rural areas). Family members who live outside an area serviced by
TRICARE Prime will be enrolled automatically in TRICARE Select. Active duty family members have 90 days after their eligibility begins to change coverage plans.