TRICARE Transitions from Active Duty to Retirement
By: Kristin Shives
TRICARE Management Activity
Beneficiaries nearing retirement from active duty have a lot to look forward to. Many will consider how to spend their time, moving to a different state or possibly the next great life adventure. One of the most important decisions all retirees face is choosing their health care after retirement.
There are several options for retirees to choose from including TRICARE Prime, Standard or Extra. Each program offers advantages relating to cost, location and convenience. Beneficiaries can learn more about retiree health care options at their local TRICARE Service Center.
TRICARE Standard and Extra are both great options for those who are not near an MTF or where Prime is not offered. TRICARE Standard and Extra are fee-for-service plans available to all non-active duty beneficiaries throughout the United States. Enrollment is not required and coverage is automatic as long as personal information is current in DEERS. Referrals are not required, but some services may require prior authorization.
TRICARE Prime enrollment is portable, meaning retirees can transfer coverage to another region if TRICARE Prime is available in that new location. Enrollment is required with annual fees of $269.28 for an individual and $538.56 for a family as of October 2012. Check for TRICARE Prime availability at www.tricare.mil/prime. TRICARE Prime Overseas is not available to retirees and their families.
Retirees who move should always update the Defense Enrollment Eligibility Reporting System (DEERS) with any new personal information, including their new address. Do not disenroll from TRICARE Prime before the move. Retirees and their dependents are limited to two enrollment transfers for each enrollment year if the second move is back to the original region. For details, visit www.tricare.mil/deers.
Retirees can continue care in a military treatment facility (MTF) with a primary care manager through TRICARE Prime if there is available space. Active duty service members and their families have priority at MTFs. Beneficiaries who enroll in TRICARE Prime at an MTF will receive care when space permits.
TRICARE has several health care options for retirees and their families depending on location and needs. Retirees who move to a new location or region can use the Plan Finder tool to find the TRICARE option for them and network providers in their area. The regional contractor can help make this transition as smooth as possible.
Making the transition from active duty to retirement gives beneficiaries several coverage options, and TRICARE wants to ensure families choose the best option to fit their needs. Contact information and beneficiary assistance locations can be found at www.tricare.mil/contactus.