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Tricare changes to take effect Jan. 1, 2018

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Changes are coming to Tricare benefits beginning Jan. 1, 2018 that will give beneficiaries more choices by improving access to care, simplifying cost shares and allowing them to take command of their health.

According to health officials, “taking command of your health” means empowering users to make the right healthcare and coverage choices for them and their families. Leading up to Jan. 1 implementation date, Tricare will connect users with resources to navigate benefit questions.

As a result of the changes, officials are urging users update information in DEERS, sign up for Tricare benefit updates, and visit http://www.tricare.mil/changes

The following is a list of the changes:

Region Consolidation

Currently, there are three Tricare regions in the United States: North, South and West. The North and South regions will combine 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. This change will allow better
coordination between military hospitals
and clinics and the civilian healthcare 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. Users will not be required to have a primary care manager and therefore can visit any Tricare-authorized provider for services covered by Tricare without a referral. For those living overseas, Tricare Overseas Program Select will be the 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 provides most of the care. When users need specialty care, their PCM 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 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, users 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, users 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.

Officials are asking affected users to prepare for the upcoming changes now by:

n Signing up for a DS Logon

n Updating personal information in DEERS

More information will be made available in the coming months at www.tricare.mil/changes. Users can sign up for email alerts to stay informed, or by signing up for eCorrespondence alerts in milConnect. n