Prepare for TRICARE Changes Coming Jan. 1, 2018

TRICARE is making important changes to its enrollment and coverage beginning Jan. 1, 2018 so it can better serve all the people under its care, and respond to changes in the law and policy. Here’s what you need to know to prepare yourself for the transition and better understand your benefits.

Enrollment changes

As of Jan. 1, 2018, TRICARE Select will replace TRICARE Standard and TRICARE Extra. Stateside, TRICARE Select is a self-managed, preferred provider network option. As with TRICARE Standard and TRICARE Extra, you will not be required to have a primary care manager and can visit any network or non-network TRICARE-authorized provider for services covered by TRICARE without a referral.

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 and services. Additional guidelines apply when seeking care in the Philippines. TRICARE Select also covers more preventive services in 2018.

Beneficiaries enrolled in TRICARE Prime, either stateside or overseas, as of Dec. 31, 2017, will remain enrolled in TRICARE Prime on Jan. 1, 2018. If you use or remain eligible for TRICARE Standard or TRICARE Extra as of Dec. 31, 2017, you’ll automatically transition to TRICARE Select. If you purchased a TRICARE premium-based plan by Dec. 31, 2017, you’ll remain enrolled in your plan on Jan. 1, 2018, as long as you continue to make your premium payments.

Expanded coverage and other changes

To provide better care, TRICARE is expanding coverage. For example, certain urgent care and primary care providers will offer extended hours, and technological improvements will improve access. Some costs will change, like new TRICARE Prime and TRICARE Select out-of-pocket costs. Because TRICARE Select requires enrollment, certain types of TRICARE Select enrollees may need to pay an annual enrollment fee. Finally, the North and South regions will become the new East Region, and both regions will be managed by new stateside regional contractors.

Action steps

If you’re currently enrolled in or eligible for TRICARE coverage on Dec. 31, 2017, you’ll transition automatically to your respective TRICARE plan on Jan. 1, 2018. However, to ensure your coverage is continued, follow these action steps:

  • For new plans, enroll by Nov. 20, 2017 for coverage beginning Jan. 1, 2018. You can enroll in certain TRICARE plans over the phone or by email or mail. Check out how to enroll or purchase a plan.
  • If you make monthly TRICARE payments electronically, be on the lookout for your regional contractor to contact you to update your payment information.
  • If your current TRICARE health plan coverage doesn’t automatically transition, contact the new TRICARE contractor for your region.
  • Make sure your information is current in the Defense Enrollment Eligibility Reporting System, or DEERS.
  • If you’ve experienced any changes (for example, marriage, birth or divorce), update DEERS as soon as possible to ensure continuous TRICARE coverage.

Visit the TRICARE Changes page to stay informed with the latest information. You can also sign up for email alerts to get an email anytime new updates are available. Staying informed will help you take command of your health and prepare for changes in 2018.

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