Changes are coming to TRICARE benefits beginning Jan. 1, 2018. These changes will give members more benefit choices, improving access to care, simplifying cost shares and allowing beneficiaries to take command of their health.
“Taking command of your health means empowering you to make the right health care and coverage choices for you and your family,” said Constancio Alvarez, public affairs officer for Naval Health Clinic Lemoore. “Leading up to Jan. 1, 2018, we will connect you with TRICARE resources to navigate your benefit questions.”
The best way to prepare now is to update your information in DEERS, sign up for TRICARE benefit updates and visit TRICARE Changes, Alvarez said.
Here are some of the major changes on the horizon:
Currently, there are three TRICARE regions in the U.S.: North, south and west. The north and south regions will combine on Jan. 1, 2018 to form TRICARE East, while TRICARE West will remain mostly unchanged. Two new contractors, Humana Military and Health Net Federal Services, LLC, will administer these regions.
This change will allow better coordination between the military hospitals, clinics and the civilian health care providers in each region.
On Jan. 1, TRICARE Select will replace TRICARE Standard and TRICARE Extra, both stateside and overseas. Stateside, TRICARE Select will be a self-managed, preferred provider network option. Members will not be required to have a primary care manager (PCM) and therefore can visit any TRICARE-authorized provider for services covered by TRICARE without a referral.
If you live overseas, TRICARE Overseas Program Select will be a preferred provider organization-styled plan that provides access to both network and non-network TRICARE-authorized providers for medically necessary TRICARE covered services. TRICARE Select adopts a number of improvements, including additional preventive care services previously only offered to TRICARE Prime beneficiaries.
TRICARE Prime is a managed care program option. An assigned PCM provides most of the care. When specialty care is required, the PCM will refer you to a specialist. Active duty service members and their family members do not pay anything when referred to a network provider by their PCM. All others pay annual enrollment fees and network copayments.
All current TRICARE beneficiaries will transition to their respective TRICARE plan on Jan. 1, 2018 as long as they are eligible. TRICARE Prime enrollees will remain in TRICARE Prime. TRICARE Standard and TRICARE Extra beneficiaries will be enrolled in TRICARE Select.
During 2018, you can continue to choose to enroll in or change coverage plans.
In fall 2018, TRICARE will introduce an annual open enrollment period. During this period, members will choose whether to continue or change their coverage for the following year. Each year, the open enrollment period will begin on the Monday of the second full week in November and run through the Monday of the second full week in December.
Are You Ready? Take Action Now
You can prepare for the upcoming changes now by:
- Signing up for a DS Logon
- Updating your personal information in DEERS
In the coming months, more information will be available at www.tricare.mil/changes. To stay informed, sign up for email alerts. You can also get alerts by signing up for eCorrespondence in milConnect. By staying informed, you’ll be ready for a smooth transition with TRICARE.