By Tom Philpott -
The TRICARE Management Activity has a new online tool for retirees under age 65 and surviving spouses to verify if their Prime network will end Oct. 1, forcing them to use TRICARE Standard.
With the new fiscal year, managed care networks operating beyond 40 miles of military treatment facilities or base closure sites will be halted under next-generation TRICARE support contracts. The change, to impact 171,000 beneficiaries, is intended to cut TRICARE costs for taxpayers.
At the TRICARE Prime Service Area website, TRICARE users can type in their zip code and learn whether their Prime service area will exist after Sept. 30. They also can find contact information for contractors and can sign up for email alerts on additional changes planned to Prime service areas.
[Editor's Note: Thanks to one of our readers, the following excerpt from a recent DoD article may help some of the possibly affected retirees:
"The new contracts limit Prime networks to regions within a 40-mile radius of military treatment facilities and in areas affected by the 2005 base closure and realignment process, she explained. But provisions will allow Prime beneficiaries who see providers outside the 40-mile service area to remain in Prime if they reside within 100 miles of an available primary care manager [Military Treatment Facility] and sign an access waiver, she added."
This Primer Access Waiver is for those who live within 100 miles of a Military Treatment Facility - i.e. military base.
Read the full DoD article at http://www.defense.gov/news/newsarticle.aspx?ID=118969 or Click here to learn more about acccess or travel waivers.]
Read Tom Philpott's 'Military Update' to learn how this will affect each of the three TRICARE regions.