TRICARE is aware that Prime enrollees in the West region have been experiencing longer than usual wait times for authorizations for referrals to specialty care since the April 1, 2013, start of health delivery under the new contract with UnitedHealthcare Military & Veterans.
Their top priority is to ensure continuity and access to care for all beneficiaries in the West Region. Because of the extraordinary circumstances, the Department of Defense has decided to make a limited, temporary change that will allow primary care managers to refer patients for specialty care without the required authorization from UnitedHealthcare.
The TRICARE Regional Office-West is working closely with UnitedHealthcare to address all beneficiary concerns, reduce the backlog of referrals awaiting authorization by the contractor and ensure that beneficiaries receive quality health care and customer service. They ask that beneficiaries continue to be patient with UnitedHealthcare during this busy time. Call center hours have been extended: current hours are 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., across all West Region time zones. While UnitedHealthcare is working on improvements to their internal processes, TRICARE Management Activity is taking steps to reduce the impact to your access to quality healthcare.
All beneficiaries in the West Region should have already received a Welcome Packet from UnitedHealthcare. Beneficiaries will work closely with UnitedHealthcare on many issues, such as enrollment, referral and prior authorization requests, claims processing and customer service. Register online at www.uhcmilitarywest.com to track referrals, authorization, claims and much more.
UnitedHealthcare will not provide customer service or support for TRICARE For Life, the U.S. Family Health Plan or for pharmacy or dental benefits.
Welcome Packets were sent to TFL beneficiaries as an announcement of a change in TRICARE in the West Region, but no action is required. Wisconsin Physicians Service continues to serve as the TFL contractor, providing assistance with claims and customer service. If you have questions, contact WPS at 1-866-773-0404 or on their web site at www.tricare4u.com