Veterans

April 5, 2013

Reductions won’t affect most TRICARE Prime beneficiaries

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.


 
 

 

Headlines September 2, 2014

News: Debris yields clues that pilot never ejected - When investigators were finally able to safely enter the crash site of an F-15C “Eagle” fighter jet on the afternoon of Aug. 27, they made a grim discovery that concluded more than 30 hours of searching – the pilot never managed to eject from the aircraft.  ...
 
 

News Briefs September 2, 2014

Pentagon: Iraq operations cost $560 million so far U.S. military operations in Iraq, including airstrikes and surveillance flights, have cost about $560 million since mid-June, the Pentagon said Aug. 29. Rear Adm. John Kirby, the Pentagon press secretary, said the average daily cost has been $7.5 million. He said it began at a much lower...
 
 

Unmanned aircraft partnership reaches major milestone

A team of research students and staff from Warsaw University of Technology have successfully demonstrated the first phase of flight test and integration of unmanned aircraft platforms with an autonomous mission control system. The demonstration marks a significant milestone in a partnership between the university and Lockheed Martin that began earlier this year. This is...
 

 

Raytheon delivers first Block 2 Rolling Airframe Missiles to US Navy

Raytheon delivered the first Block 2 variant of its Rolling Airframe Missile system to the U.S. Navy as part of the company’s 2012 Low Rate Initial Production contract. RAM Block 2 is a significant performance upgrade featuring enhanced kinematics, an evolved radio frequency receiver, and an improved control system. “As today’s threats continue to evolve,...
 
 
Courtesy photograph

Two Vietnam War Soldiers, one from Civil War to receive Medal of Honor

U.S. Army graphic Retired Command Sgt. Maj. Bennie G. Adkins and former Spc. 4 Donald P. Sloat will receive the Medal of Honor for actions in Vietnam. The White House announced Aug. 26 that Retired Command Sgt. Maj. Bennie G. A...
 
 

Sparks fly as NASA pushes limits of 3-D printing technology

NASA has successfully tested the most complex rocket engine parts ever designed by the agency and printed with additive manufacturing, or 3-D printing, on a test stand at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala. NASA engineers pushed the limits of technology by designing a rocket engine injector – a highly complex part that...
 




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>