Changes Beginning January 1, 2018

If you currently have TRICARE coverage you will be automatically converted to your respective TRICARE plan in 2018.  Learn more about costs and enrollment fees.

TRICARE Enrollment Freeze

Starting Dec. 1 2017, there will be an enrollment freeze lasting approximately three weeks. During this time, all your TRICARE information will be transitioned to your new regional contractor. While this won’t affect your coverage or care, it’s important to:

  • Make any changes to your TRICARE plan before Nov. 20, 2017.
  • Save any pharmacy, dental, and other health care receipts, so you can get reimbursed for covered expenses once the freeze is lifted.

If you experience a problem getting care, please contact your current regional contractor. If you experience a problem getting medications, please contact Express Scripts.

The table below outlines how enrollments will change:

If on Dec. 31, 2017


Then on Jan 1, 2018*


You’re enrolled in TRICARE Prime


You’ll remain enrolled in TRICARE Prime.**


You’re covered under TRICARE Standard


You’ll be automatically converted to
TRICARE Select.**


You’re enrolled in TRICARE Young Adult, TRICARE Reserve Select, TRICARE Retired Reserve, or the Continued Health Benefit Program


You’ll remain enrolled in your current plan.

* New active duty service members are automatically enrolled in TRICARE Prime. New active duty family members are automatically enrolled in TRICARE Prime if they live in a Prime Service Area or TRICARE Select if they live outside one. This includes National Guard and Reserve members ordered to active duty service for more than 30 consecutive days.

**If you currently have TRICARE Prime or TRICARE Standard and aren’t automatically converted on Jan. 1, 2018, contact the contractor for your region by visiting www.TRICARE.mil/contactus.

New Enrollees

If you don’t enroll in a TRICARE plan or choose to disenroll from your TRICARE plan on or after January 1, 2018:

  • You can only get care at a military clinic or hospital on a space available basis.
  • You will lose coverage of care from civilian providers.
  • Your prescriptions received through home delivery or from civilian retail pharmacies will no longer be covered. You may be able to get your prescription from a military pharmacy if that medication is on their formulary.

Re-enrolling in 2018

Only in 2018, you may enroll and re-enroll in TRICARE or change plans at any time.

Only in 2018, if you aren’t enrolled and then receive care from civilian network providers, you will:

  • Have the first episode of care covered by TRICARE
  • Be given an opportunity to enroll or re-enroll
  • If you don’t enroll at that time, you will be responsible for all subsequent costs.  TRICARE won’t pay on any other claims unless you have enrolled

Enrolling in 2019

Starting January 1, 2019, you will only be able to enroll during two periods:

  • During the Open Enrollment Season, or
  • Up to 90 days following a Qualifying Life Event.

What is the Open Enrollment Season?

An open enrollment season is the yearly period when you can enroll in or change your health plan. In 2018, open enrollment will be Nov. 12 – Dec. 10.  Any changes you select will take effect Jan. 1, 2019.

During open enrollment season, you will be able to:

  • Change to another TRICARE plan.
  • Do nothing and stay in the same plan.

Before each annual open enrollment season, we will tell you about any upcoming changes for the next calendar year.

What is a Qualifying Life Event?

Outside the open enrollment season, you can only enroll in or make changes to your  plan if you have a qualifying life event (QLE).  These include life events like getting married, having a baby, or losing other health coverage, among others. We will provide more information about QLEs on this page in the near future. Sign up for email alerts to be notified when this information is available.

Enrolling Your New Child

How you enroll your new child depends on who you are.  This includes newborns, newly adopted children, and children placed with beneficiaries as wards.

Beneficiary Category

Active Duty Family Members

  • You need to register your new child in DEERS.
  • Stateside: Once in DEERS, your child will be automatically enrolled in TRICARE Prime if you live in a stateside PSA.
  • Overseas: Once in DEERS, your child will be automatically enrolled in TRICARE Select unless you change your enrollment within 120 days.
  • If you haven't registered your child in DEERS, they are only eligible for care at a military treatment facility on a space available basis.

Retired Service members, families, and others

  • You need to register your new child in DEERS.
  • You also need to enroll your child in a TRICARE plan. You have 90 days to do so stateside, and 120 days overseas.
  • If you haven’t enrolled your child in a plan after this time, they are only eligible for care at a military treatment facility on a space available basis.


Last Updated 12/7/2017

Email Updates Email Updates

Get email updates about the new contracts.