The Department of Defense recently announced the reduction of TRICARE Prime service areas in the U.S. beginning October 1st, which will affect about 171,000 retirees and their family members.
Officials say retirees and their family members living in affected areas will be disenrolled September 30th from TRICARE Prime, but will continue to be covered by TRICARE Standard and many will have the option to choose other coverage plans.
Assistant Secretary of Defense for Health Affairs, Dr. Jonathan Woodson says the reduction in the number of Prime service areas does not mean beneficiaries will be losing their TRICARE benefit.
Woodson adds that all beneficiaries will remain eligible for TRICARE Standard and many will have additional coverage options available to them and active duty family members who live in an affected area will also be able to continue receiving TRICARE Prime benefits as long as they remain in their current Prime service areas.
Blanchfield Army Community Hospital Commander Colonel, George Appenzeller also says if a family member of an active duty service member transfers their benefits out of an affected area, they will not be able to switch back to that area again under TRICARE Prime and will have to look at other coverage options instead.
Officials say for beneficiaries who live within 100 miles of a remaining Prime service area, re-enrolling in Prime may be an option, depending on availability.
Officials say the Prime service areas that are being eliminated are not close to existing military treatment facilities.