Many Tricare users were surprised to receive letters dated "December 2017" noting their current enrollment and changes scheduled to start Jan. 1.
Why? Because despite being marked "December," the letters were received in mid-February.
Pentagon officials said the Defense Manpower Data Center (DMDC) asked the Defense Logistics Agency (DLA) to send the letters to Tricare users.
Sent in batches, each letter noted the enrollment status of those in the household and warned of upcoming changes to cost shares, plan names and regional contractors.
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More than 2.3 million such letters were mailed to Tricare Prime, Tricare Reserve Select, Tricare Retired Reserve and Tricare Young Adult users, as well as Tricare Select (previously known as Standard) users who had filed a claim within the last 18 months.
Tricare for Life users did not receive the letters.
The "last batch" of those letters wasn't forwarded from DLA to the contractor responsible for mailing until Jan. 12, Pentagon officials said. And from there, things were even more delayed.
What should've taken just "a few days," instead took more than a month.
"DLA later found there was an issue with the postal vendor that was not initially reported and therefore not passed on the DMDC," a spokesperson said. "The vendor informed DLA the last of the letters were mailed Feb. 19."
So that solves that mystery.
Tricare officials note that these weren't the only letters and notices about upcoming changes users should have received. Among other communications were emails, social media notices, press releases and letters from the contractors themselves, officials said.
-- Amy Bushatz can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.