OK, now that I have your attention, I'll admit the headline does not tell the whole story. However, this year's Tricare open season, taking place Nov. 9 through Dec. 14, is different.
Why? Well, for the first time, "Group A" retirees -- those who entered service prior to Jan. 1, 2018 -- electing to utilize Tricare Select and Tricare Overseas Select will have to pay an enrollment fee starting in 2021.
And here's the key: They MUST set up arrangements to pay the fee, or they'll be disenrolled from Tricare Select. Group A makes up the vast majority of retired Tricare beneficiaries, so if you're retired and using Tricare, take note.
At $25 per month ($12.50 for individual plans), it's not a huge chunk of money, but if you don't contact your Tricare regional contractor and set up a payment plan during the open season window, you'll be disenrolled from Tricare Select in the New Year. And that could be a big chunk of headache.
If you somehow miss the deadline to set up your payment arrangements and are disenrolled, you can request reinstatement within 180 days.
Remember, Tricare Select is the option that allows you to get care from any Tricare authorized provider. In 2021, without enrolling and paying the fee, you'll be limited to space-available care at a military treatment facility and be responsible for the costs associated with civilian-provided health care.
The new enrollment fees do not apply to Tricare for Life beneficiaries, those medically retired with a 30% or greater disability, or the families of deceased service members.
This change was part of the 2017 National Defense Authorization Act, but implementation was delayed until 2021. Time flies; don't let the open season fly by without doing what you need to do!
Contact Your Tricare Regional Contractor:
East Region: 1-800-444-5445
West Region: 1-844-866-9378
Or visit the Tricare Overseas contact page for international numbers.