Veterans

January 11, 2013

Officials announce TRICARE Prime service area changes

Active-duty service members and their families will be unaffected when long-delayed reductions to areas where the TRICARE Prime option is offered take place Oct. 1, TRICARE officials said Jan. 9.

But as TRICARE seeks to synchronize service area shifts once staggered by contract delays, some military retirees and their dependents will be moved to TRICARE Standard coverage, S. Dian Lawhon, beneficiary education and support division director, said during a conference call with reporters. Those affected reside more than 40 miles from a military treatment facility or base closure site, she said.

The new contracts limit Prime networks to regions within a 40-mile radius of military treatment facilities and in areas affected by the 2005 base closure and realignment process, she explained. But provisions will allow Prime beneficiaries who see providers outside the 40-mile service area to remain in Prime if they reside within 100 miles of an available primary care manager and sign an access waiver, she added.

“If TRICARE retirees and young adults live less than 100 miles away from a remaining Prime service area, they can re-enroll in Prime by waiving their drive standards and there will be room made for them,” Lawhon said, adding that the networks are required to connect providers to those who elect to waive their drive standards.

Contractors such as United HealthCare Military & Veterans, Health Net Federal Services and Humana Military will continue to assist beneficiaries in obtaining providers in their regions, she added.

“Health care is best if it’s local,” Lawhon said. “We’ve established the drive standards (to enable) people to access their primary and specialty care within a reasonable period of time.”

Austin Camacho, TRICARE’s benefit information and outreach branch chief, said the out-of-pocket, fee-for-service cost of TRICARE Standard would cost a bit more, depending on the frequency of health care use and visits. No cost applies for preventive care such as mammograms, vaccines, cancer screening, prostate examinations and routine check-ups, he added.

Officials estimate the changes will lower overall TRICARE costs by $45 million to $56 million a year, depending on the number of beneficiaries who choose to remain in Prime, Camacho said.

Lawhon and Camacho said beneficiaries should speak to their health care providers and families to assess the best course of action.

“We’re hoping people will take a careful look at their health care needs,” Lawhon said. “We have seen that people using the Standard benefit are very pleased with it, and their customer satisfaction is the highest of all.”

 




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


 
 

 
WWII-MIA

Missing World War II Soldier accounted for

The Department of Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency announced today that the remains of a missing World War II U.S. serviceman have been identified and are being returned to his family for burial with full military honors, acco...
 
 
stamps2

New stamp folio to honor Vietnam Medal of Honor recipients

Nearly a dozen Vietnam Medal of Honor recipients will help the U.S. Postal Service dedicate a limited-edition stamp folio honoring them and other Vietnam heroes on Memorial Day. The “Medal of Honor: Vietnam War Forever...
 
 
af-medal

American Fighter Aces receive Congressional Gold Medal

Leaders from the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate presented the Congressional Gold Medal to the American Fighter Aces Association May 20 at the U.S. Capitol Visitor Center Emancipation Hall. The Congressional Gold Medal...
 

 
Korea-MIA

Soldier missing from Korean War accounted for

The Department of Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency announced May 22 that the remains of a U.S. soldier missing from the Korean War have been identified and will be returned to his family for burial with full military honors, a...
 
 
Army photogaph by J.D. Leipold

Soldiers participate during Flags In at Arlington Cemetery

Army photogaph by J.D. Leipold Old Guard and other ceremonial units place more than 228,000 miniature flags throughout Arlington National Cemetery, Va., May 21, 2015, in advance of Memorial Day, May 25. The Flags In mission has...
 
 

In memoriam

Remembering TSgt. Anthony E. Salazar TSgt. Anthony E. Salazar, age 40, died April 13 in a noncombat related incident at an air base in Southwest Asia while serving during Operation Inherent Resolve. Salazar, a native of Hermosa Beach, Calif., was assigned to U.S. Air Forces Central Command’s 577th Expeditionary Prime Base Engineer Emergency Force Squadron,...
 




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>