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TRICARE Prime Versus TRICARE Select: Should You Change or Keep Your Plan?

11/21/2018

TRICARE Open Season is from Nov. 12 through Dec. 10, 2018. This is the annual period when you can enroll in or change your TRICARE Prime or TRICARE Select plan. If you miss open season, you’ll only be able to make enrollment changes within 90 days of a Qualifying Life Event or during the next TRICARE Open Season in fall 2019. If you don’t want to change your plan, you don’t need to do anything during TRICARE Open Season.

To help you pick the program that’s right for you during TRICARE Open Season, here’s an overview of the differences between TRICARE Prime and TRICARE Select.

TRICARE Prime: A Managed Care Plan

TRICARE Prime is a managed care option, similar to a health maintenance organization program, which offers affordable and comprehensive health care coverage. You will be assigned a provider who is your primary care manager (PCM). Your PCM will:

  • Manage your health care
  • Provide your routine health care
  • Get any referrals or authorizations you need
  • Refer you to a specialist when you need it
  • File your medical claims

Active duty service members (ADSMs) must enroll in TRICARE Prime. Active duty family members (ADFMs) may choose to enroll in TRICARE Prime or TRICARE Select. There are a few TRICARE Prime plansClick to closeTRICARE Prime plans include: TRICARE Prime, TRICARE Prime Remote, TRICARE Prime Overseas, TRICARE Prime Remote Overseas and TRICARE Young Adult-Prime available:

TRICARE Select: A Preferred Provider Plan

TRICARE Select is a self-managed, preferred provider option. You manage your own health care without a PCM and choose which TRICARE-authorized providers you see. You don’t need referrals, but your regional contractor must authorize some services. Network providers will file claims for you. You may have to file your own claims if you get non-network care. For help with filing claims, visit the Filing Claims page. 

You may enroll in TRICARE Select anywhere in the U.S. if you aren’t an active duty service member. If you live overseas, you may enroll in TRICARE Overseas Program Select.

TRICARE Prime Costs

There are no out-of-pocket costs if you’re an ADSM. And there are no costs if you’re an ADFM, unless you use the point-of-service option. All other beneficiaries pay:

  • An annual enrollment fee
  • Copayments

For more information, visit the TRICARE Costs page.

TRICARE Select Costs

When you receive care within the TRICARE network, you have fewer costs if you use TRICARE Select. When you use TRICARE Select, you can expect to pay:

  • An annual enrollment fee (for certain beneficiaries)
  • An annual deductible
  • A fixed fee for some outpatient services
  • A cost-share (a part of the total cost of each service you receive)

For more information, visit the TRICARE Costs page.

What Do I Need to Do During Open Season?

There are a few things you need to do during open season if you want to change your plan.

For more information about TRICARE Open Season, visit the Open Season page on the TRICARE website. Find more about TRICARE Prime and TRICARE Select under Health Plans. Take command of your benefit this fall, and make any changes to your TRICARE health coverage before TRICARE Open Season ends on Dec. 10, 2018.

Last Updated 11/21/2018