If you’re a “seasoned” military spouse, you likely have a love/hate relationship with TRICARE. TRICARE is the health care program for all active duty service members and their families in the United States. And there is only one time of year when individuals can change their plans. This period is known as “Open Season.”
As we’re only one month away from Open Season 2022 (Nov. 14-Dec. 13), we wanted to help you make an informed decision. You might be wondering, “How do I know if I need to change plans?” or “Which plan is better for my family and I?”
If you’re anything like me, I blindly enrolled in TRICARE Prime after I married my sailor. As someone without a lot of medical needs or attention, Prime felt suitable for me. But fast forward five years, two PCS moves and a toddler who requires some speciality therapies, I’m ready to make the change to Select. In fact, I am counting down the days to Open Season. 🙂
So, do you need to make the switch this year? Here’s some key things to consider:
What Is “Open Season?”
TRICARE Open Season is the annual period when you can enroll in or change your health care coverage for the next year. The next TRICARE Open Season is Nov. 14 – Dec. 13, 2022. Enrollment changes made during TRICARE Open Season will go into effect on Jan. 1, 2023.
Open season applies to anyone enrolled in or eligible for a TRICARE Prime option, including the US Family Health Plan (USFHP), or TRICARE Select. Open season is the only time of the year you can switch plans, unless you have a “qualifying life event.”
If you’re interested in Dental and Vision, there is also an Open Season for that.
What do I have to do?
If you’re eligible to participate, you have three options: stay on your current plan, enroll in a plan or change plans.
If you are happy with your current health plan, no action is necessary. If you’re eligible for TRICARE and have not enrolled at all, you can enroll in a plan. And finally, if you would like to change plans (i.e. switch from Prime to Select), now is the time to do so.
What are the differences between “Prime” and “Select?”
- Select offers more freedom of choice. Prime usually features the use of military hospitals and clinics, and patients are assigned a primary care manager (PCM) who provides most of your care. With Select, manage you your own health care and can receive care from any provider. However, you can save money with Select if you see a TRICARE-authorized network provider.
- Prime offers lower out-of-pocket costs than Select. Active duty service members and families pay no enrollment fees. Retirees, their families, and others pay enrollment fees. If you’re active duty, you won’t pay out-of-pocket costs for TRICARE covered services if you see a TRICARE network provider in your region. For Select, costs vary based on the sponsor’s military status. You’ll pay an annual outpatient deductible and cost shares (or percentage) for covered services.
If you’re still not sure what plan is right for you, check out this quiz.
How do I enroll?
- Enrolling online on milConnect
- Calling your regional contractor or designated provider:
- Submitting an enrollment form by mail or fax:
For more information on TRICARE Open Season and other resources, visit www.tricare.mil/openseason.