TRICARE prepares for its second open season, here’s what you need to know

It’s that time of year again. TRICARE is conducting its second open season for its nearly 5 million eligible members and it will run from Nov. 11 to Dec. 9.

During that time active duty family members, retired service members and their families can change their TRICARE plan, enroll in one or simply not take action. The plans will take effect on Jan. 1, 2020.

“This is the one extended period of time where you have the opportunity to change your TRICARE plan from Prime to Select or Select to Prime,” Francine Forestell, chief of TRICARE customer communications, said during a Thursday webinar hosted by Military OneSource. “If you have any intention to change your plan this would be the time to do it.”

Members can also change from individual plans to family plans or vice versa.

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TRICARE Prime offers a lower cost, but fewer options for providers. TRICARE Select, on the other hand, can be more expensive, but offers more providers and patients do not need referrals.

Not everyone is eligible for the plans, however.

“Prime is not available for all the remote locations stateside and it’s not available to retirees overseas,” Forestell said.

The good news is if you like your plan and don’t want to change anything then all you have to is sit back and relax. You will be automatically reenrolled in the program you have.

Additionally, TRICARE for Life recipients don’t need to do anything because they are not eligible for open season.

If you are not in a plan and do not enroll your only option will be to get care at a military medical treatment facility.

TRICARE started its open season last year.

We want to “give our patients the opportunity to select the plan that best works for them,” then- Defense Health Agency Director Vice Adm. Raquel Bono said last year. “Some of our folks, depending on where they are or what family members they are covering — if they have children in school or young kids at home — may find certain benefits to being part of TRICARE Prime program or moving to TRICARE Select.”

Along with open season last year, dental and vision care for TRICARE retiree beneficiaries were transferred to the Federal Employees Dental and Vision Insurance Program. Retirees can choose from 10 different dental carriers and four vision carriers. Signing up for vision and dental is a completely separate open season and not through the TRICARE system.

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