Nearly 175,000 military retirees and family members may soon find out they have lost their Tricare Select coverage.
Starting this year, retirees were required to pay a new monthly enrollment fee to keep their Tricare Select coverage. But about 20 percent of beneficiaries have not set up a payment plan to continue their coverage, which was supposed to be done by December 31, 2020.
The number of retirees who will be losing coverage is quite concerning, but not surprising, said Karen Ruedisueli, director of health affairs for the Military Officers Association.
The new premiums only affect those who are on Tricare Select. If you use any of the other Tricare programs you will not incur the new premium.
Additionally, there are several groups who do NOT need to worry about the payment:
- Military retirees who got a medical discharge, along with their family members
- Active-duty Military members and their families
In 2021, for the first time, retirees and family members enrolled in Tricare Select, must pay enrollment fees in order to continue their coverage. If you haven’t responded to the Defense Department’s clarion call to contact your Tricare regional contractor to set up a payment process, you lost coverage as of Jan. 1, and you’ll soon find your health care claims are denied.
These are so-called “Group A” retirees and their dependents — working-age retirees under age 65 who entered the military before Jan. 1, 2018, their family members and survivors. Previously, these beneficiaries didn’t have to pay enrollment fees for Tricare Select, but a 2017 law required the Defense Department to start charging these enrollment fees by Jan. 1, 2021.Military Times
If you are one of the retirees who just found out you lost your Tricare Select coverage, here’s what you need to know. The Defense Health Agency recently extended the grace period for you to re-enroll to 180 days. You must reach out to the regional Tricare contractor and request your coverage be reinstated. If you then pay the enrollment fees dating back to January 1, 2021, you should be able to get back in good standing. Tricare will then pay for previously denied claims once coverage is reinstated.
The new fees are $150 a year for individuals (or $12.50 per month), and $300 a year for families (or $25 per month).