TRICARE open enrollment gives plan choices to beneficiaries
By David DeKunder, 502nd Air Base Wing Public Affairs
/ Published November 14, 2018
SAN ANTONIO, Texas -- Beneficiaries of TRICARE who want to make changes to their health care coverage are now able to do so during the TRICARE enrollment period that starts Nov. 12.
TRICARE Open Season gives enrollees in the TRICARE Prime or TRICARE Select plans the opportunity to review their health care options and make changes in coverage based on their needs.
The enrollment period ends Dec. 10.
Vice Adm. Raquel Bono, Defense Health Agency director, said the TRICARE Open Season enrollment period gives beneficiaries a choice in what they want to do with their health care coverage.
Bono spoke about the new enrollment period process during a news conference in San Antonio Nov. 10.
“In this enrollment period, people have the opportunity to choose or elect to either stay with the plan that they’re on, or they can switch,” Bono said. “So if they were in TRICARE Prime and they have a changing health need that would make it more advantageous for them to switch to TRICARE Select, they can do that during open enrollment season.”
Information on TRICARE plans and enrollment is available at TRICARE.mil/openseason. Enrollment changes made in TRICARE plans take effect Jan. 1.
TRICARE beneficiaries who are satisfied with the plan they currently have don’t need to take any action during the enrollment period. Their plans will be enrolled automatically.
Other changes in TRICARE include retiree dental coverage and vision coverage for military family members.
On Dec. 31, the TRICARE Retiree Dental Program will end. Retirees can continue dental coverage by enrolling in the Federal Employees Dental and Vision Insurance Program during the Federal Benefits Open Season, which is from Nov. 12 to Dec. 10.
Bono said retirees who enroll in FEDVIP will have a choice of 10 dental plans to choose from, instead of just one that is offered in the TRICARE Retiree Dental Program.
“They can select that plan that best meets their family’s needs,” Bono said.
In addition, Bono said beneficiaries will be able to select plans whose costs are based on individual or family coverage and they will be able to calculate those costs and enrollment fees into their household budgets.
On average, costs for retiree dental plans in San Antonio through FEDVIP range from $20 to $40 per month for an individual plan, and $60 to $120 a month for a family plan. These costs are compared to the TRICARE Retiree Dental Program, which is $32.25 per month for an individual and $115 for a family plan.
Starting next year, military family members who are enrolled in TRICARE will be eligible for vision coverage, also through FEDVIP. Family members of both active-duty and retirees can enroll for vision coverage during the Federal Benefits Open Season period.
Bono said TRICARE provides vision services for family members, but on a limited basis. Once vision coverage is switched to FEDVIP, beneficiaries will have a choice of four vision carriers to select from.
“Like dental, families have different vision needs as well,” Bono said. “I think that the great thing is they can actually look at plans and select one that’s really tailored made for them, their unique vision needs within their family.”
Information on FEDVIP plans and costs is available at http://www.TRICARE.benefeds.com. Information on the open season for FEDVIP is at http://www.TRICARE.mil/openseason.
Enrollment changes made during the Federal Benefits Open Season in both retiree dental coverage and vision for family members will go into effect Jan. 1.
Bono urged TRICARE beneficiaries who want to make changes in their health care coverage to do so as early as possible and not wait until the last day of the enrollment period.
“We do want to make sure people sign up early so that they have ample time to make sure their new plan takes effect Jan. 1,” Bono said.
There are 248,000 TRICARE beneficiaries in the San Antonio area, including active-duty, retirees and military family members.
Currently, 750,000 households nationwide are covered through the TRICARE Retiree Dental Program, totaling 1.4 million beneficiaries.
Overall, the TRICARE program covers 9.5 million beneficiaries, including active-duty, retirees and family members both in the U.S. and overseas.