Deadline Looms to Change Tricare Plans

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FILE – A doctor examines a patient while another doctor oversees the procedure, at Elmendorf Air Force Base, Alaska. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman Jack Sanders)
FILE – A doctor examines a patient while another doctor oversees the procedure, at Elmendorf Air Force Base, Alaska. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman Jack Sanders)

Chances are, you've already switched Tricare plans if you decided to do it this year. But if you haven't and still want to swap between Tricare Prime and Tricare Select, there's time.

The deadline for changing Tricare health plans is 11:59 p.m. Eastern Time on Dec. 31.

This being the first year that Tricare beneficiaries are restricted to changing plans within a set open enrollment period -- Nov. 12 to Dec. 10 -- Tricare instituted a one-time extension until Dec. 31.

Beneficiaries who were happy with their current plans didn't need to do anything to maintain their coverage, but those who want to switch and haven't done it yet must do so by Monday.

Starting Jan. 1, beneficiaries will be able to change plans or enroll only during the annual open season or during a qualifying life event, such as marriage, divorce, retirement, childbirth or adoption.

Open enrollment for FEDVIP dental and vision plans also closed Dec. 10, but it has been extended for beneficiaries with "extenuating circumstances," such as a medical emergency, a death in the immediate family, not having access to the internet or a telephone throughout open enrollment, and for those who were unsuccessful in trying to enroll by phone or internet during open season.

As of the close of the open enrollment period Dec. 10, roughly 627,000 military retirees had purchased a new dental plan through FEDVIP. Roughly 800,000 military retirees were enrolled in the Tricare Retiree Dental Plan.

Those retirees who were enrolled in TRDP and elected not to enroll in a FEDVIP dental plan will no longer have dental coverage after Dec. 31.

-- Patricia Kime can be reached at patriciankime@gmail.com. Follow her on Twitter @patriciakime.

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