PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. -- TRICARE enacted new changes to their policies to help modernize the health care system to better serve military members, their families and retirees Jan. 1, 2018 at Peterson Air Force Base, Colorado.
Listed below are a few changes that have already gone into effect and the pharmacy changes to expect Feb. 1, 2018 from TRICARE collateral collected from the 21st Medical Group.
· Beneficiaries were automatically enrolled in their respective plans Jan. 1, 2018.
· The North, South and East regions consolidated into two, East and West. Having two regions will improve the support between the two, especially when beneficiaries move.
· Health Net Federal Services, an American health insurance provider, has taken over the West region contract.
· TRICARE Standard and TRICARE Extra were merged into TRICARE Select.
· Co-pays and Premiums have gone up.
· Referrals are no longer needed to visit urgent care, as long as you are not active duty.
· TRICARE now covers medically necessary foods or vitamins.
· Select enrollees are now eligible for participation in the Federal Employees Dental and Vision Insurance Program.
· Tricare offers extended coverage for National Guard members and dependents during certain disaster response duty.
· Access to care has changed with expanded access to urgent care, primary care and the nurse’s advice line.
New pharmacy changes will increase the co-pays related to getting your medications through TRICARE Pharmacy Home Delivery or from retail network pharmacies. Military pharmacies will continue to be available at no cost.
“As with any major health care delivery change, it’s bound to have its challenges,” said Capt. Marlon Peeler, 21st Medical Group Tricare operations and patient administration flight chief.
Peeler encourages patience from everyone as they work to bring Health Net on board and continue building up the civilian network downtown.
Peeler said those who got caught in the enrollment freeze during Dec. 1-22, 2018 should contact Health Net Federal Services at 844-866-9378 to ensure they’ve been registered in the Colorado Springs Military Health System. He also said that although the delays are inconvenient, Health Net and other multi-service partners (Schriever Air Force Base, Colorado; Fort Carson, Colorado; U.S. Air Force Academy, Colorado and the local civilian network) are working hard to make sure proper care is received in a timely manner.
Peeler said for faster service, visit the TRICARE website, www.tricare.mil/changes. Registering with Tricare West, Health Net’s portal, will also allow you to see any referrals you may have. With the new contract, physical referrals will not be sent out unless you call and specifically ask for one.
The 21st MDG will now have a team in the lobby of the clinic to help anyone with registration to the TRICARE West website, to ensure everyone has access to their referrals and gets their questions answered said Peeler.
The only changes guard and reservists will see in their plans will be in co-pays and premiums while benefits stay the same, said Peeler. If they choose, they can use the 2018 open enrollment year to switch their TRICARE plan. However, starting January 2019, beneficiaries will only be allowed to enroll in TRICARE Prime or TRICARE Select during the annual open enrollment period.
“We are here to take care of you,” says Peeler. “There’s a lot of websites and information out there and it can get confusing. Please call 1-800-874-2273, or if you aren’t getting what you need, or are just confused, come see us. I have three benefits counselors on deck. We will find a way to help you, please don’t suffer in silence.”