Bread Crumbs

Take Command to Make a Smooth Transition with TRICARE in 2018

9/19/2017

You may be wondering what action you need to take, if any, to ensure you continue TRICARE coverage in 2018. If you’re currently enrolled in or eligible for TRICARE coverage on Dec. 31, 2017, you’ll transition to your respective TRICARE plan on Jan. 1, 2018. If you want to enroll in a TRICARE plan or change coverage after Jan. 1, 2018, you’ll need to take action to enroll in the plan of your choice.

All beneficiaries should take action by making sure their information is current in the Defense Enrollment Eligibility Reporting System (DEERS). If you’ve experienced any changes (for example, marriage, birth, divorce and death), update DEERS as soon as possible to ensure continuous TRICARE coverage.

TRICARE is Changing. Here is what you need to know:

Automatic Transition for Current Enrollees

Beneficiaries enrolled in TRICARE Prime, either stateside or overseas, as of Dec. 31, 2017 will remain enrolled in TRICARE Prime on Jan. 1, 2018. If you have TRICARE Standard or TRICARE Extra as of Dec. 31, 2017, you’ll transition to TRICARE Select. TRICARE Select replaces TRICARE Standard and TRICARE Extra on Jan. 1, 2018.

If you’re enrolled in any TRICARE premium-based plan on Dec. 31, 2017, you’ll remain enrolled in your plan on Jan. 1, 2018 as long as you continue to make your premium payments. These premium-based plans include:

  • TRICARE Young Adult
  •  TRICARE Reserve Select
  • TRICARE Retired Reserve

On Jan. 1, 2018, TRICARE will transition its stateside regional contractors from three to two. Beneficiaries who pay premiums or enrollment fees by electronic funds transfer or recurring debit/credit card payment will be contacted to update their payment information. If you currently pay through a Defense Finance and Accounting Service allotment, your payments will automatically transfer. 

If your current TRICARE health plan coverage doesn’t automatically transition, contact the TRICARE contractor for your region. The are no changes to the TRICARE For Life (TFL) benefit. TFL beneficiaries will not have to take any action.

Automatic Enrollment of New Enrollees

New active duty service members are automatically enrolled in TRICARE Prime or TRICARE Prime Remote if they live in remote areas in the U.S. Stateside active duty family members (ADFMs) who become eligible for TRICARE on or after Jan. 1, 2018 will also be automatically enrolled in TRICARE Prime if they live in a Prime Service Area. If family members live outside a Prime Service Area, they’ll be automatically enrolled in TRICARE Select. ADFMs who are automatically enrolled in TRICARE Prime or TRICARE Select have up to 90 days after the eligibility date to change health plans.

TRICARE Overseas Program (TOP) ADFMs will be automatically enrolled in TRICARE Select. They will also have 90 days to change their enrollment to TOP Prime or Prime Remote if they are command sponsored.

This is Your Benefit! Are You Ready?

Enroll by Nov. 20, 2017 for Coverage Beginning Jan. 1, 2018

By Nov. 20, 2017, beneficiaries should complete any and all enrollment actions. During December 2017, there will be an enrollment freeze for TRICARE Prime enrollments, and a delay for primary care manager changes. You’ll still be able to receive care during the enrollment freeze. If you have a problem accessing care, contact your regional contractor.

For all other stateside beneficiaries, you’ll also need to complete any and all enrollment actions by Nov. 20, 2017 to ensure continued health coverage in 2018. As long as your regional contractor receives your completed enrollment application by the 20th of the month, your coverage will begin on the first day of the next month. The 20th of the month rule doesn’t apply to beneficiaries overseas, and will go away for everyone starting in 2018.

Enrolling is easy. You can enroll in certain TRICARE plans over the phone, email or mail. Check out how to enroll or purchase a plan.

Visit the TRICARE Changes page to stay informed with the latest information. You can also sign up for email alerts to get an email anytime new updates are available. Staying informed will help you take command of your health and prepare for changes in 2018. 

Last Updated 10/26/2017