WASHINGTON — Making a permanent-change-of-station move can be stressful, but changing health care providers during that time is easy, the director of the TRICARE health plan said here yesterday.
In a DOD News interview, Mary Kaye Justis said she wants service members and their families to know there are several easy options to find new health care providers at their new duty station ahead of time or after they arrive, following the April 1 closure of the TRICARE service centers.
“We have a lot of folks to make sure the health care is there with good support for beneficiaries,” Justis said. “When you’re [moving], there are a lot of changes going on and we want to make that it’s as easy as possible through the multiple safety nets that exist in both our military treatment facilities and in our network.”
A first step service members and families should take is to update their information with their new address and duty station in the Defense Enrollment Eligibility Reporting System, also known as DEERS. Every beneficiary and service member is responsible for keeping their DEERS database information up-to-date, Justis pointed out.
“Once that’s done, if they’re in middle of [moving] and haven’t thought about changing doctors or networks, the new management care support contractor will contact them,” she said.
Several options exist to help in changing health care providers, Justis said. A program called Moving Made Easy will walk beneficiaries through the process on TRICARE TV or as a webinar on the Military OneSource website, and TRICARE Web Resources on YouTube also offers valuable information, she added.
The Moving Made Easy initiative helps families in the continental United States moving from one region to another, Justis said, adding that TRICARE is divided into three regions – north, south and west.
Another choice is to call. “If you’re moving, you can call either region and either contractor will assist you,” she said. “So, there really are a lot of opportunities.”
One thing people often don’t know is that they don’t have to disenroll from TRICARE or TRICARE Prime, Justis said. “They just need to call their regional office or management support care contractor and let them know they’re moving,” she added. “It’s a simple process. They’ll set beneficiaries up with a new primary care provider and take care of any special needs they may have in their new area.”
Transferring information for medication also is an easy process, she said. There is one national contractor in the retail network, and other options are mail order prescriptions and using pharmacies at military treatment facilities.
“All the military treatment facilities in our direct-care system work very actively to take care of their folks,” Justis said. “We work together from purchase care from the networks, and from the military treatment facilities to make sure there’s a good safety net for beneficiaries.”
TRICARE is reaching across the Military Health System to ensure ease of changing health care during a move, she added.
“We make it easy for folks to get to their providers, we make sure we have great quality in place in terms of the providers, programs and services and we take good care of those with special needs, whether it’s a child with autism or a physical challenge,” Justis said.
“If there are areas where beneficiaries need additional help,” she added, “they can reach out to their provider and let them know so they can help create that support system.”