Changes to TRICARE coming; here's what you need to know

Changes to the TRICARE benefit begin Jan. 1, 2018. (U.S. Air Force graphic)

Changes to the TRICARE benefit begin Jan. 1, 2018. (U.S. Air Force graphic)

HILL AIR FORCE BASE, Utah --

Changes are coming to the TRICARE benefits program beginning Jan. 1, 2018. These changes will give eligible Hill Air Force Base beneficiaries more choices in their health care delivery: improved access to care, simplified cost shares and empowering the beneficiary to take command of his or her health.

“Taking command of your health means empowering you to make the right health care and coverage choices for you and your family,” said Col. Kelly L. Dorenkott, 75th Medical Group commander. “Leading up to Jan. 1, 2018, we will connect you with TRICARE resources to navigate your benefit questions.”

The best way for Team Hill members to prepare now is to update information in DEERS, sign up for TRICARE benefit updates, and browse the TRICARE Changes page via TRICARE.mil.

Here are changes that beneficiaries will need to know about:

Region Consolidation

Currently, there are three administrative 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, will administer these regions, respectively. 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, 2018, 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 (PCM) and, therefore, you 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

TRICARE Prime is a managed care program option. An assigned PCM at the 75th Medical Group clinic provides most of the beneficiaries’ care. When specialty care is required, beneficiaries’ Military PCMs will refer them 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 be automatically enrolled into plans 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, beneficiaries 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, beneficiaries 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.

Are You Ready? Take Action Now

Beneficiaries can begin to prepare for the upcoming changes now by:
• Signing up for a DS Logon via dmdc.osd.mil.
• Updating 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 http://www.tricare.mil/changes. To stay informed, sign up for email alerts via TRICARE.mil. Beneficiaries can also get alerts by signing up for eCorrespondence in the milConnect system. By staying informed, beneficiaries will be ready for a smooth transition with TRICARE.