Soldiers need to check their health benefits to assure they and their families were not accidentally disenrolled after a technical snafu caused Tricare beneficiaries to be booted from the system last week.
Twenty-five thousand Tricare beneficiaries were removed from coverage on Jan. 16 due to an error related to the service's new human resources platform, the Integrated Personnel and Pay System-Army, or IPPS-A. The disruption, caused by a change in a separate system so that it could work with IPPS-A, lasted for three days and has mostly been resolved, Lt. Col. Joseph Payton, a service spokesperson, told Military.com.
However, service members need to check whether they and their dependents are still enrolled.
"While we have confirmed that eligibility was restored to soldiers and their dependents, there are some instances where soldiers must still re-enroll their family members for coverage," Payton told Military.com in a statement. "There is an automated process underway to resolve this, but we understand this may not be fast enough for those requiring care in the interim."
Soldiers looking for immediate re-enrollment are being told to contact Tricare and that soldiers who paid out of pocket for any care or prescriptions can submit a manual claim for reimbursement.
The blackout in health care coverage was due to a glitch related to the Defense Enrollment Eligibility Reporting System, or DEERS, and its relationship to IPPS-A. DEERS is the database that tracks health insurance for soldiers and their families. It is unclear how many Tricare beneficiaries are still disenrolled.
The snafu came right when IPPS-A went online last week after years of development. Army planners aim for it to be the center of the service's HR work, including awards, leave and other personnel-related admin work that until now has been spread out across outdated online systems or done on paper. The $600 million project faced multiple delays amid technical hiccups.
"We apologize for the inconvenience and disruption this has caused our families," Payton added. "We're committed to holistically resolving this issue as soon as possible."
-- Steve Beynon can be reached at Steve.Beynon@military.com. Follow him on Twitter @StevenBeynon.