Health & Safety

August 9, 2013

TRICARE moves forward with prime service area reductions

FALLS CHURCH, Va. – Department of Defense, or DoD, officials will reduce the number of TRICARE Prime service areas in the United States beginning Oct. 1, affecting about 171,000 retirees and their Family members.

Those beneficiaries, who mostly reside more than 40 miles from a military clinic or hospital, received a letter earlier this year explaining their options. They will receive a second letter later this month.

TRICARE Management Activity officials said changing the location of Prime service areas has been planned since 2007 as part of the move to the third-generation of managed care support contracts and will allow them to continue their commitment to making high-quality health care available while supporting DoD efforts to control the rising cost of health care for 9.6 million beneficiaries.

Health care under TRICARE Prime costs about $600 more annually per enrollee, but on average, each member of a Family of three using TRICARE Standard will pay only about $20 more per month than if they were using Prime.

“The first thing TRICARE beneficiaries should know about the reduction in the number of Prime service areas is that it doesn’t mean they’re losing their TRICARE benefit,” said Dr. Jonathan Woodson, the assistant secretary of defense for health affairs. “Next, it’s important to remember this change does not affect most of the more than 5 million people using TRICARE Prime, and (it affects) none of our active-duty members and their Families.”

All affected beneficiaries will receive a letter this month following up on their initial notification to ensure they have the time and information to make important decisions about their future health care options, officials said.

Current details on Prime service areas and the option for beneficiaries to sign for email updates are available at http://www.tricare.mil/PSA. A ZIP code tool is available on the site to help beneficiaries determine if they live in an affected area.

As always, officials noted, TRICARE beneficiaries still are covered by TRICARE Standard. For those living within 100 miles of a remaining Prime service area, re-enrolling in Prime may be an option, depending on availability. To do this, beneficiaries must waive their drive-time standards, and they may have to travel long distances for primary and specialty care.

“I urge all impacted beneficiaries to carefully consider their health care options they should talk them over with Family members and their current health care provider,” Woodson said. “Many beneficiaries may be able to continue with their current provider using the Standard benefit. Being close to your health care team usually offers the best and safest access to care.”

Those enrolled in TRICARE Prime are assigned a primary care provider who manages their health care. Retirees pay an annual enrollment fee and have low out-of-pocket costs under this plan. TRICARE Standard is an open-choice option without monthly premiums and no need for referrals, but it has cost shares and an annual deductible.

The Prime service areas being eliminated are not close to existing military treatment facilities or base realignment and closure sites, officials said. Prolonged protests resulted in a staggered transition, they added, and all Prime service areas were retained until all three new regional contracts were in place. The West region completed the transition April 1.

To provide affected beneficiaries with enough time to plan, DOD officials elected to delay the Prime service area reductions until Oct. 1.

 




All of this week's top headlines to your email every Friday.


 
 

 

Labor Day Safety Message

Labor Day marks the traditional end of the summer season and celebrates the American worker and the contributions they make to our great country. I want to commend you on your efforts to control heat injuries through another hot summer. Your diligence and care for teammates contributed to an overall 20-percent decrease in accident fatalities...
 
 
Mike Williams

Flooding still underway this year — avoid water runoff problems

Mike Williams Runoff crosses the road during a monsoon storm. Remember to stay safe, and if you see even a small amount of water crossing the roadway, remember to ‘Turn Around, Don’t Drown!’ While rain in a desert climate...
 
 

Tobacco use harms military readiness, official says

WASHINGTON — Because tobacco use is harmful to military readiness, the Defense Department has an added responsibility to curb its use, the assistant secretary of defense for health affairs said Tuesday, noting that service members are more likely to use tobacco products than Civilians. Tobacco use can lead to excess oral cavity disease and morbidity,...
 

 

Military, Sierra Vista police share back-to-school driving cautions

Fort Huachuca and Sierra Vista schools are back in session, and Fort Huachuca Police and Sierra Vista Police Department personnel remind motorists about traffic laws to help keep youth safe in school zones and around school buses. Heed yellow signs near crosswalks in schools zones during school hours. Vehicles must stop for pedestrians in the...
 
 

RWBAHC changes EFMP appointment times

Exceptional Family Member Program, EFMP, personnel at Raymond W. Bliss Army Health Center now set patient appointments every weekday morning from 7:30 – 11 a.m. These appointments are for EFMP enrollments, updates, disenrollments and overseas screening. The Soldier, spouse or legal guardian can contact Family Care Clinic B to begin the assessment process for enrollment,...
 
 
Karen Horak, NSRDEC Collective Protection Systems Team

Natick takes shelter ballistic protection to the ‘X’ level

Karen Horak, NSRDEC Collective Protection Systems Team Researchers at the Natick Soldier Research, Development and Engineering Center, with help from the Advanced Structures and Composites Center at the University of Maine, hav...
 




0 Comments


Be the first to comment!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>


Directory powered by Business Directory Plugin