Are you working on your fall to-do list? Don’t forget to add health care as an item.
With the 2020 TRICARE Open Season coming soon, now is the time to start thinking about your and your family’s health care needs.
Depending on where you live, and your beneficiary status, you may have many coverage options to choose from. Open season is also a good opportunity to learn about important changes, like TRICARE Select enrollment fees for Group A retirees, and if you need to take action.
If you’re not sure which TRICARE plan you have, log in to milConnect at https://milconnect.dmdc.osd.mil/ to access your Defense Enrollment Eligibility Reporting System, or DEERS, record. There, you can verify your plan and enrollment status.
“Part of preparing for the open season period is making sure you show as eligible for TRICARE in DEERS and that your information is updated,” said Mark Ellis, chief of the Policy and Programs Section of the TRICARE Health Plan at the Defense Health Agency. “This will enable you to enroll in a health plan and access your TRICARE benefit.”
Whether you need to make changes to your existing plan or find a new one, open season is your chance to do so. Any enrollment changes you make will go into effect on Jan. 1, 2021.
So, when is open season?
The TRICARE Open Season officially starts Monday, Nov. 9 and runs until Monday, Dec. 14. The Federal Benefits Open Season is also during this time. It allows certain beneficiaries to enroll in dental and vision plans through the Federal Employees Dental and Vision Insurance Program, or FEDVIP.
What are my health plan options?
Depending on your TRICARE eligibility, you may choose to enroll in the following plans during open season:
- TRICARE Prime
- TRICARE Prime Remote
- TRICARE Select
- TRICARE Overseas Program Prime
- TRICARE Overseas Program Select
- US Family Health Plan
Keep in mind that the TRICARE Open Season doesn’t apply to TRICARE For Life, or TFL. TFL coverage is automatic if you have Medicare Part A and Part B. It doesn’t apply to premium-based plans either. You can purchase TRICARE Retired Reserve, TRICARE Reserve Select, or TRICARE Young Adult at any time.
What else do I need to know about open season?
If you’re eligible to participate, you have three choices for your health coverage. You may:
- Enroll in a plan. If you’re eligible for a TRICARE Prime option or TRICARE Select but not enrolled, you can enroll for 2021 coverage.
- Change plans. If you’re already enrolled in a TRICARE Prime option, or TRICARE Select, you can switch plans for 2021 coverage. You may also switch from individual coverage to family coverage, or vice versa.
- Stay in your plan. Want to keep the TRICARE plan you have? If so, you don’t need to re-enroll. You’ll continue in your current health plan through 2021 or as long as you’re eligible. If you’re a Group A retiree enrolled in TRICARE Select, you’ll have to take action. Visit the TRICARE Select Enrollment Fees page to learn more.
As you get ready for open season, be sure to check out helpful tools on the TRICARE website, like the TRICARE Plan Finder (https://www.tricare.mil/PlanFinder) and TRICARE Compare Cost Tool (https://www.tricare.mil/comparecosts).
These resources will come in handy when you want to know which plans you’re eligible for, cost differences, and how to get care. Remember, “If you don’t enroll in a TRICARE plan, you’ll only be able to receive care at military hospitals and clinics if space is available,” as stated in the TRICARE Plans Overview.
Take command of your health, and learn about TRICARE Open Season. To keep up with TRICARE and open season updates, sign up for email alerts at https://www.tricare.mil/subscriptions.