Many Tricare users who pay annual or monthly enrollment fees or premiums must update their payment information by the end of the month -- or risk losing coverage.
All users can pay by electronic funds transfers or credit or debit card; retirees also have the option of using a paycheck allotment.
But, thanks to an upcoming Tricare contractor shake-up, where that money goes will change for most users.
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Starting Jan. 1, Tricare's regions will be consolidated from the current West, South and North system to Tricare West and Tricare East.
HealthNet Federal Services, which currently manages Tricare North, will manage the West region, while Humana Military, which currently manages Tricare South, will manage the East.
That means many retiree Prime beneficiaries and all purchased plans users outside the current South region need to update their information, officials said.
Because South region users are keeping their current contractor, Humana, they do not need to update their payment information.
Retirees who pay through paycheck allotment also do not need to update their information, Tricare officials said, despite some users receiving a letter from Humana notifying them that they do. That letter was a mistake, a Tricare spokesman said. Humana's website also notifies those users that they do not need to update.
"If you received a notice about making automatic payments through a credit card or bank fund transfer and are currently using allotment for payment, please disregard the notification," the Humana site says. "We appreciate your patience and apologize for any confusion this may have caused."
Those in the new Tricare West region received update notices dated Nov. 18 by mail from HealthNet, while those who need to update in the East region received letters from Humana dated Nov. 28.
HealthNet users must update their information by Dec. 20, while Humana users have until Dec. 24, the notices state.
All users who pay by credit or debit card must update their information by postal mail or fax.
Humana users who pay through electronic funds transfer can update their information online, while HealthNet users must use a mail or fax form for that process as well.
-- Amy Bushatz can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.