It’s Almost TRICARE Open Season. Start Planning Now.
TRICARE’s Open Season is rapidly approaching, and it’s your primary, annual opportunity to update or change your TRICARE health care plan.
Your family’s TRICARE coverage is probably not something you spend much time thinking about, unless you just spent an hour on the phone trying to schedule a well-child visit. Starting soon, though, all military families should spend some time thinking about their health care and considering whether their current TRICARE plan is the best fit for them.
While TRICARE offers multiple plans, most military families choose between Prime or Select. One plan isn’t “better” than the other, and both plans have their own advantages and disadvantages. Families on Prime are assigned a primary care manager (PCM), either at an MTF or a civilian network provider. They must obtain referrals from their PCM before seeking specialty care. Families on Select have more flexibility in their choice of provider and don’t need referrals to see a specialist, but they may have higher out-of-pocket costs. You can find more information about those costs here.
If you are satisfied with your current TRICARE plan and your family is currently serving, then you don’t need to do anything. However, if your family wants to switch to a different plan, you must do so during Open Season, which starts on November 9 and runs through December 14. If you don’t make a switch during Open Season, you will be locked in to your current plan for the next year, unless you have a Qualifying Life Event such as a PCS move or arrival of a new baby.
Retiree families should know that starting in 2021 they will have to pay enrollment fees for TRICARE Select. Before the end of Open Season retired families on Select must pay the fee ($150 for an individual/$300 for a family per year) or risk losing their TRICARE coverage.
Making these decisions about your family’s health care coverage can feel overwhelming and scary. We get it – and we’re here to help. If your family needs help determining which plan is the right fit, visit TRICARE’s plan comparison tool for help: https://www.tricare.mil/Plans/ComparePlans.
By: Eileen Huck, Government Relations Deputy Director