Consider These Factors Before Switching to TRICARE Standard

Switching to TRICARE Standard 550px

TRICARE changes are on the horizon, and while most are scheduled to begin on or after January 1, there’s one change that military families should be aware of now.

Currently, TRICARE operates on a fiscal year (FY) schedule beginning October 1 and ending September 30 each year. However, starting on January 1, 2018, TRICARE will begin operating on a calendar year (CY) schedule; running from January 1 through December 31 each year.

What does this mean exactly?

TRICARE will extend deductibles and catastrophic caps that usually reset on October 1 through the end of the calendar year.

This is good news for military families currently using TRICARE Standard, TRICARE Reserve Select, TRICARE Retired Reserve or TRICARE Young Adult – Standard Option. You have an extra three months before your deductible resets and if you’ve already reached your catastrophic cap for FY17, you will not have additional out-of-pocket costs for authorized TRICARE-covered services for the last three months of the 2017 calendar year.

If you are thinking of switching to TRICARE Standard

If you’ve been toying with the idea of switching from TRICARE Prime to Standard, consider this:

If you switch from Prime to Standard between now and January 1, you would be subject to paying the deductible twice in a relatively short timeframe —once when you change plans initially, and again when the plan year resets on January 1, 2018.

Bottom line: If you can hold off on switching from Prime until the new plan year begins, you can avoid paying those additional out of pocket expenses.

Working age retirees on TRICARE Prime

If you’re a working-age retiree currently on TRICARE Prime, you’ll need to continue paying enrollment fees during the three months between October 1 and December 31, 2017. Enrollment fees will be pro-rated for that three month period and they will continue to count against the FY17 catastrophic cap. TRICARE will send you information on how much your family will need to pay to cover those final months of the calendar year.

With all the TRICARE changes coming down the pipeline, we understand it can be a bit confusing. The best way to stay on top of all these changes is by signing up for TRICARE email updates here and following NMFA’s Facebook page for posts and articles about how TRICARE changes will impact military families.

Posted September 26, 2017

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