Health & Safety

April 12, 2013

Reductions won’t affect most TRICARE Prime beneficiaries

FALLS CHURCH, Va. — Despite upcoming service area reductions, TRICARE Prime will remain a health care option for 97 percent of the more than 5 million beneficiaries eligible for the health care plan, Military Health System officials said.

The 3 percent difference, which comprises about 171,000 beneficiaries who mostly reside more than 40 miles from a military clinic or hospital, automatically will revert to the TRICARE Standard health care option Oct. 1, officials said.

Those beneficiaries recently received a letter explaining their options, and they will receive a reminder letter in June or July.

“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.”

As a follow-up to the initial notification, he noted, a second letter will be mailed in early summer to make sure all affected beneficiaries have the time and information to make important decisions about their future health-care options.

The TRICARE website has the most current details at http://www.tricare.mil/PSA and gives beneficiaries the option to sign up for email updates. A ZIP code tool is available on the site to help beneficiaries determine if they live in an affected Prime service area.

As always, officials said, TRICARE beneficiaries still are covered by TRICARE Standard. For those living within 100 miles of a remaining Prime service area, they added, re-enrolling in Prime may be an option, depending on availability. To do this, beneficiaries must waive their drive-time standards and possibly would need 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.”

In TRICARE Prime, those enrolled 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 with no monthly premiums and no need for referrals, but there are cost shares and an annual deductible.

Defense Department officials first planned to reduce the number of Prime service areas in 2007, when it requested bids for the third generation of regional health care support contracts. The areas being eliminated are not close to existing military treatment facilities or sites affected by base realignments and closures. Prolonged protests resulted in a staggered transition, officials said, and the decision was made to keep all Prime service areas in place until all three contracts were in place. The West region completed its transition April 1.

Eliminating select Prime service areas allows TRICARE and the Defense Department to better control costs while continuing to deliver a high-quality health care benefit to all 9.6 million TRICARE beneficiaries, officials said.

 




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


 
 

 
U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Mikaley Towle

57th AMXS TSgt saves AF $5 million

U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Mikaley Towle Tech. Sgt. Dennis Hertlein, 57th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron Viper Aircraft Maintenance Unit specialist expediter, poses in front of an F-16 Fighting Falcon at Nellis Air...
 
 

NTTR supports first F-35B integration into USMC’s weapons school exercise

NELLIS AIR FORCE BASE, Nev. — The Nevada Test and Training Range was part of history April 21, when four U.S. Marine Corps-assigned F-35B Lightning IIs participated in its first Marine Corps’ Final Exercise of the Weapons and Tactics Instructor course on the NTTR’s ranges. The Final Exercise, or FINEX, is the capstone event to...
 
 

April is America’s PrepareAthon month

NELLIS AIR FORCE BASE, Nev. — Everyone plays an important role in bolstering our preparedness for hazards of all types. The Federal Emergency Management Agency has launched the “America’s PrepareAthon” campaign to build and sustain national preparedness. Thousands of individuals, organizations, schools, and local governments across the nation are actively participating in America’s Pr...
 

 

Who has heard of Special Victims’ Counsel?

NELLIS AIR FORCE BASE, Nev. — When I first briefed the Special Victims’ Counsel Program at Right Start and First Term Airman Center briefings here, audience participation was slim to none. It appeared as though the group I briefed was not interested in learning more about our program or that they didn’t know anything about...
 
 
U.S. Air Force photo by Scott M. Ash

AF top leaders hold event for Sexual Assault Awareness, Prevention Month

U.S. Air Force photo by Scott M. Ash Air Force senior leadership locks arms with members of the Air Staff who lined the Arnold Corridor in recognition of Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention Month, in the Pentagon April 20. ...
 
 

Presidential Volunteer Service Award winners recognized

Col. Robert Ramsden, 99th Air Base Wing vice commander, poses with the Presidential Volunteer Service Award bronze category winners during the civilian volunteer appreciation ceremony held at The Club on Nellis Air Force Base, Nev., April 16. The Presidential Volunteer Service Award was given to individuals who completed 100 to 249 hours of volunteer service...
 




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