It’s TRICARE Open Season. Start Planning Now.
Are you interested in making a change to your TRICARE plan? If so, you need to act now. TRICARE’s Open Season runs from November 8 through December 13. 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. However, it’s worthwhile to think about your family’s health care needs and consider whether your current TRICARE plan is the best fit.
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 Military Treatment Facility 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.
Depending on where you live, you may be eligible to participate in the U.S. Family Health Plan. USFHP is a TRICARE Prime option, but care is provided through a contracted network of civilian providers.
Military families are also eligible to purchase vision coverage through the Federal Employees Dental and Vision Insurance Program (FEDVIP), managed by the Office of Personnel Management. Retirees may also obtain dental coverage through FEDVIP. Federal Benefits Open Season also runs from November 8 through December 13. Visit the Benefeds website to check eligibility, compare FEDVIP plans and rates, enroll in a plan, and more.
If you are satisfied with your current TRICARE plan, then you don’t need to do anything. However, if your family wants to switch to a different plan, you must do so before December 13. 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.
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.
By: Eileen Huck, Government Relations Deputy Director