If you've noticed that more and more doctors seem to not be accepting new Tricare patients, it probably isn't just your imagination.
According to a new report by the Government Accountability Office (GAO), the number of community based doctors taking new Tricare patients is on the decline.
According to the report 67 percent of primary doctors, 77 percent of specialty physicians and only 40 percent of mental health doctors will take new Tricare patients.
The most frequent reason given by doctors for not taking new Tricare patients was that they are unfamiliar with the program, the report says, particularly outside of areas where Tricare Prime is available. That fact logically makes this problem bigger for Reservists, National Guard, Retirees and Active Duty family members who have decided to move home over deployment.
Lack of awareness of the program was particularly high among mental health care providers, the report says.
The second most cited specific reason given by doctors for rejecting Tricare users is that they don't like the reimbursement rate given by Tricare. That reason was particularly high among specialized doctors, according to the report.
Finding a doctor accepting new Tricare patients is particularly difficult in portions of Texas, Alaska, the Seattle, Wa. region, California, the Washington, D.C. region, Arizona, Michigan, Oklahoma and Florida, the report says, but does not say why.
What the report also did not include was any recommendations or ideas for fixing the issue, even though the report shows it is getting worse over time. For example, 76 percent of doctors surveyed between 2005 and 2007 said they were accepting new Tricare patients, compared to 70 percent in the 2008-2011 data used for this report.
Have you experienced this problem? What did you do about it?