Military Advantage

Defense Bill May Enable Retirees to Get Back on TRICARE Prime

The House version of the 2014 National Defense Authorization Act has a provision to allow the military retirees who were kicked off TRICARE Prime last October, a one-time shot at re-enrolling. As some of our readers have noted, Par. 3(B) limits re-enrollment eligibility to those living within 100 miles of a military treatment facility. The remainder of the 171K retirees that were kicked off TRICARE Prime (myself included) will have to remain on TRICARE Standard. Sen. Klobuchar (D-MN) introduced Senate Bill S.1078, which would allow military retirees living outside of the 100-mile restricted TRICARE Prime Service Area to have a one-time opportunity to remain enrolled in TRICARE Prime as long as the beneficiary resides in the same zip code as he/she did at the time of election of benefits. Senators Hagan (D-NC), Hirono (D-HI), Schatz (D-HI), Casey (D-PA) and Pryor (D-AR) have co-sponsored the bill. Let your elected officials to know if you support Senate Bill s.1078. # # # # Here is a copy of the text from Sect. 701 of the House version of the National Defense Authorization Act: ONE-TIME ELECTION —Subject to paragraph (3), the Secretary shall ensure that each affected eligible beneficiary who is enrolled in TRICARE Prime as of September 30, 2013, may make a one-time election to continue such enrollment in TRICARE Prime, notwithstanding that a contract described in subsection (a)(2)(A) does not allow for such enrollment based on the location in which such beneficiary resides. The beneficiary may continue such enrollment in TRICARE Prime so long as the beneficiary resides in the same ZIP code as the ZIP code in which the beneficiary resided at the time of such election. “(2) ENROLLMENT IN TRICARE STANDARD —If an affected eligible beneficiary makes the one-time election under paragraph (1), the beneficiary may thereafter elect to enroll in TRICARE Standard at any time in accordance with a contract described in subsection (a)(2)(A). “(3) RESIDENCE AT TIME OF ELECTION —An affected eligible beneficiary may not make the one-time election under paragraph (1) if, at the time of such election, the beneficiary does not reside— “(A) in a ZIP code that is in a region described in subsection (c)(1)(B); and “(B) within 100 miles of a military medical treatment facility. “(4) NETWORK —In continuing enrollment in TRICARE Prime pursuant to paragraph (1), the Secretary may determine whether to maintain a TRICARE network of providers in an area that is between 40 and 100 miles of a military medical treatment facility.” Read the 2014 National Defense Authorization Act. (PDF)

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