Take command: Enroll now for 2018 TRICARE coverage

Take command with TRICARE changes

Starting Jan. 1, 2018, cost changes for TRICARE benefits transition from a fiscal year period to a calendar year period. Changing from fiscal year (Oct. 1 – Sept. 30) to calendar year (Jan. 1 – Dec. 31) makes the TRICARE benefit consistent with civilian health plans. The change will largely affect those plans which have an enrollment fee and are currently billed by the fiscal year.

FALLS CHURCH, Va. -- On Jan. 1, 2018, there are a number of changes coming to your TRICARE benefit. This includes a change to the current TRICARE regions. The current three regions (North, South and West) will become two regions (East and West). There will be new regional contractors for the new East and West regions. Humana Military will manage the East Region and Health Net Federal Services, LLC will manage the West Region. In preparation for this change, enrollments in TRICARE health plans will be delayed while beneficiary files are transferred to the incoming regional contractors. The delay period, or an enrollment freeze, will begin on Dec. 1, 2017 and last approximately three weeks, or until the data transfer is complete.

"You’ll still have access to care during the enrollment freeze," said Mark Ellis, senior health program analyst for TRICARE at the Defense Health Agency. "However, if you wish to make changes to your TRICARE coverage, I encourage you to do so as soon as possible."  

If you would like to switch to a different TRICARE health plan, or enroll in a plan for the first time, take action before Nov. 20, 2017. You can enroll in certain TRICARE plans online, by phone or by mail. Learn about how to enroll in or purchase a health plan on the TRICARE website.

You don’t have to enroll in TRICARE Select if you’re a TRICARE Standard beneficiary as of Nov. 30, 2017. You’ll be automatically converted to TRICARE Select on Jan. 1, 2018, as long as you’re registered in the Defense Enrollment Eligibility Reporting System (DEERS) and are eligible for TRICARE. Learn more about TRICARE Select, which replaces TRICARE Standard and TRICARE Extra next year.

Beginning Nov. 20, 2017, you will not be able to use the Beneficiary Web Enrollment (BWE) website to enroll in or disenroll from TRICARE Prime options and select or change primary care managers. Additionally, eligible beneficiaries will not be able to use BWE to enroll in TRICARE Young Adult (TYA) or TRICARE dental options. While the BWE website is unavailable, regional contractors will accept enrollment applications through other communications channels (for example, phone and mail). Regional contractors will process these applications once the freeze is complete. Visit www.tricare.mil/changes/enroll to find instructions on how to submit TRICARE enrollment forms during the enrollment freeze.

You’ll still have access to care during the enrollment freeze. Save your pharmacy and other health care receipts while your enrollment is pending, so that you can get reimbursed for TRICARE covered expenses once the freeze is complete and your enrollment is processed. If you have a problem accessing care while your enrollment is pending, contact your regional contractor. If you have a problem getting your medications while your enrollment is pending, contact Express Scripts.

This is Your Benefit! Are You Ready?

Take command of your health care and prepare for the upcoming changes to TRICARE:

For more information, visit www.tricare.mil/changes. And follow TRICARE on Facebook and Twitter.