[HEALTH.MIL] Most TRICARE Beneficiaries Unaffected by Prime Service Area Reductions

  • From: HEALTH.MIL@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • To: <HEALTH.MIL@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Thu, 4 Apr 2013 17:01:00 -0500

Most TRICARE Beneficiaries Unaffected by Prime Service Area Reductions 

FALLS CHURCH, Va. - TRICARE Prime will remain a health care option for 97
percent of approximately 5 million beneficiaries eligible for Prime. The 3
percent difference, comprising about 171,000 beneficiaries, will automatically
revert to the TRICARE Standard health care option on Oct. 1, 2013. Those
beneficiaries, who mostly reside more than 40 miles from a military clinic or
hospital recently received a letter explaining their options and will receive a
reminder letter in June or July.
"The first thing TRICARE beneficiaries should know about the reduction in the
number of Prime Service Areas (PSAs) is that it doesn't mean they're losing
their TRICARE benefit," said Dr. Jonathan Woodson, assistant secretary of
defense for Health Affairs. "Next, it's important to remember this change does
not affect most of the more than 5 million people using TRICARE Prime, and none
of our active duty members and their families."
TRICARE is committed to keeping beneficiaries informed about these changes. As a
follow-up to the initial notification, a second letter will be mailed in early
summer to make sure all affected beneficiaries have the time and information to
make important decisions about their future health care options.

The TRICARE website, www.tricare.mil/PSA, has the most current details and gives
beneficiaries the option to sign for e-mail updates. A ZIP code tool is
available on the site to help beneficiaries determine if they live in an
affected PSA.
As always, TRICARE beneficiaries are still covered by TRICARE Standard. For
those living within 100 miles of a remaining PSA, re-enrolling in Prime may be
an option depending on availability. To do this, beneficiaries must waive their
drive-time standards and, possibly, travel long distances for primary and
specialty care.
"I urge all impacted beneficiaries to carefully consider their health care
options - they should talk them over with family members and their current
health care provider," said Dr. Woodson. "Many beneficiaries may be able to
continue with their current provider using the Standard benefit. Being close to
your health care team usually offers the best and safest access to care."
In TRICARE Prime those enrolled are assigned a primary care provider who manages
their health care. Retirees pay an annual enrollment fee and have low out of
pocket costs under this plan. TRICARE Standard is an open-choice option with no
monthly premiums and no need for referrals, but there are cost shares and an
annual deductible.
The Department of Defense first planned to reduce the number of PSAs in 2007
when it requested bids for the third generation of regional health care support
contracts. The PSAs being eliminated are not close to existing military
treatment facilities or Base Realignment and Closure sites. Prolonged protests
resulted in a staggered transition and it was decided to keep all PSAs in place
until all three contracts were in place. On April 1, 2013, the West region
completed its transition.
By eliminating select PSAs, TRICARE and DoD can better control costs while
continuing to deliver a high quality health care benefit to all 9.6 million
TRICARE beneficiaries.

SOURCE:  TRICARE News Release at

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