TRICARE changes are coming

Guest Column

By Col. Daniel G. Bonnichsen, Commander, Fort Meade Medical Department Activity

Beginning Jan. 1, changes are coming to your TRICARE benefit.

These changes will give you more benefit choices, improving your access to care, simplifying cost shares and allowing you to take command of your health.

Taking command of your health means empowering yourself to make the right health care and coverage choices for you and your family.

Leading up to Jan. 1, we will provide you with additional information to connect you with TRICARE resources to navigate your benefit questions.

For updates, visit Kimbrough Ambulatory Care Center’s Facebook page.

The best way for you to prepare now is to update your information in DEERS, sign up for TRICARE benefit updates, and visit TRICARE Changes at https://tricare.mil/changes.

Here is what you need to know:

Region consolidation

Currently, there are three TRICARE regions in the United States: North, South and West. The North and South regions will combine on Jan. 1 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 and clinics and the civilian health care providers in each region.

TRICARE Select

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. You will not be required to have a primary care manager and can visit any TRICARE-authorized provider for services covered by TRICARE without a referral.

TRICARE Overseas Program Select will be a preferred provider-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 offered only to TRICARE Prime beneficiaries.

TRICARE Prime

TRICARE Prime is a managed-care program option. An assigned PCM provides most of your care. When you need specialty care, your 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.

Enrollment

All current TRICARE beneficiaries will transition to their respective TRICARE plan on Jan. 1 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.

In 2018, you can continue to choose to enroll in or change coverage plans.

TRICARE also will introduce an annual open enrollment period. During this period, you will choose whether to continue or change your 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.

Take Action Now

You can begin to prepare for the upcoming changes now by signing up for a DS logon and updating your personal information in DEERS.

This is your benefit. Take command. Stay informed with the latest information.

In the coming months, more information will be available at www.tricare.mil. Stay informed and 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.

Team Meade!

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