Here’s what TRICARE changes will mean for families in 2017


By J.G. Noll

(Photo: DVIDS)

Brace yourselves. . . TRICARE changes are coming. Congress’ 2017 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) retooled parts of the military health care system. Here’s what you need to know:

TRICARE Prime or TRICARE for Life

Beneficiaries of Prime and Life will not see changes to their health care at this time.

TRICARE Standard

First, let’s start with the name change. TRICARE Standard will be known as TRICARE Select. Starting January 1, 2018, anyone who wishes to use TRICARE Select instead of TRICARE Prime will need to be enrolled. From that point forward, enrollment will be annual– all TRICARE Select users will need to enroll every year. This is a major change as Standard in its current iteration does not require enrollment like Prime does.

Enrollment will begin in the fall of 2017. The procedure for TRICARE Select will be outlined in an official letter from the Department of Defense at some point in the fall. Currently, the procedure has not yet been determined. There will be a grace period for those who do not enroll by the end of 2017. Stragglers will be able to access one 2018 doctor’s visit at out-of-network rates.

TRICARE Select will have an annual premium that users will be responsible for. Single users will pay $150 each year; families will pay $300. Those who are currently serving, medical retirees, or spouses whose active duty partner died will not be subject to the premium. Beneficiaries will still need to pay existing deductibles and co-insurance costs.

Looking into the future, TRICARE Select’s catastrophic cap for retirees will increase from $3,000 to $3,500 per year. (Current serving families will continue to see a cap at $1,000 per year.) Both catastrophic cap increase and the annual premium will be tied to cost of living increases in the future.
J.G. Noll is the Editor of Military One Click and a veteran’s spouse. She can be reached at joanna@militaryoneclick.com.

42 Comments

  1. What do this mean for any one that has been in military or still in military do this mean we not going to get health treatments when we go to the any VA Hospitals just asking inquiring in mine wants to know please enlighten me.

  2. So wait…we will get a cost of living raise but then we’ll have to now start paying premiums and deductibles??? I see where this is going! #screwtheveteransover

    1. If you have had standard in the past then you know there is already deductibles and caps. If you have prime then nothing changes as it states on the top. It’s really not changing much from what it is now.

  3. So the way I am reading this if retirees have Standard now we have a $300 family deductible. In 2018 we will have Select and pay $300 for select insurance for family plus the $300 family deductible?
    If this is the case that is more than why we would pay to have Tricare Prime

    1. To some people, paying it is worth not needing to wait for referrals or to deal with mandatory MTF PCMs

    2. my understanding is if you already are on Tricare standard, you will be grandfathered in, and continue to pay no premium, currently retirees will not be required to start paying a premium in 2018.

  4. What if you live in a state or location that prime is not an option as a retiree ? Seems a bit ludicrous for the veteran/retiree to have to pay more for health care when they already have an issue in receiving good health care to begin with.

  5. I don’t make much on my pension and so i guess I will drive 400 miles round trip to my VA hospital…

  6. I served almost 38 years in Marines and Army National Guard and now I have to pay more for my insurance. My opinion is this is
    a lot of Bull. This is why so many of our veteran’s are dying. They can’t afford to go to doctors anymore. SHAME ON AMERICA IT’S TIME TO PUT OUR VETERAN’S FIRST !!

  7. Vetrans first and more.What happen to all the promises? Wheres the honor and commitmends from you guys.You are pushing the young people away from serveing in our great military.I did 20yrs. and proud to have serve my beautiful country.And would do it again.I would defend my country to my last breath! Plesae help us, dont destroy us!!

  8. What happened to Trumps promises! Helping the military! Really Trump is this the help? Please!

    1. He has already submitted a budget that helps the military it hasn’t even been 100 days yet. Where your concerns should be is what Senator’s and Congressmen approved this bullshit?

  9. First let me thank you for serving our country and I realize you have been promised to have healthcare when you joined the military a zillion years ago. However, if you compare what Tricare offers and your liability compared to the rest of the working world, you are paying a lot less. Try $1047 a month premium (for one person) and $5000 deductible. We can’t even afford to go to the doctor. So your plan is well worth the money and peace of mind.

    1. Jo Ann,
      Your comment “a zillion years ago” is unnecessary! Have you served and given up the many sacrifices service men, women and their families give? Service members are “promised” medical care while in the military and when they retire. Those benefits are a part of their incentive for retirement. Please do not patronize the service member. When a service member fulfills their requirement so should the Department of Defense, PERIOD. There is nothing easy about being in the military and you can’t compare it to the civilian (working) world.

    2. That may be true, but the Retirees, career soldiers, paid the “premium” in advance by agreeing to sacrifice everything, and serve and defend America, in return they were promised free healthcare. An enlisted soldiers pay was a little more than minimum wage if you look at the number of hours a soldier was on duty. Those are the retirees who are now depending on Tricare. Most enlisted retiree’s pay is not much compare to the cost of living.

    3. I understand we pay extremely low premiums comparably, however, when I signed up my contract stated myself and my spouse would receive free health care for life if I served 20 years. I served over 20 years and when I retired they said oh sorry this is how it is now. It’s complete and utter B.S. they they keep doing this to us we need to continue to fight for what we were promised and deserve for defending this country. We certainly didn’t serve for the money, the least this country could do is take care of a basic need such as health care, especially since it was originally promised to us ( those who served starting in 1980 and before)

  10. Also paying $25 a month is probably less than what else is paid out like cigarettes, bars, tattoos, and motorcycles. Feel blessed you have a healthcare coverage that is so affordable.

    1. First of all what what bill are you handing out? Whoever you are,you are NOT in any way connected to DOD and have no clue of military life. As far as promises of health Care, we had them.
      When I was retired, medically,1984 I was promised healthcare for my family and me as part of my informal PEB agreement. That and $328.00 per month. That was broken by tricare 1986 at a cost to me $560 a year. Almost Two months of my retirement pay. Now, I have private insurance and tricare now costing me as well
      Thanks for your service. HERE’S ANOTHER STAB IN THE BACK

  11. JoAnn, that is not very nice and not the venue for it. I’m sorry that you have crappy insurance with high out of pocket costs. Join the military if it’s that bad.
    Our insurance may be lower costs but it doesn’t necessarily mean the coverage is better than yours or the doctor selection is large at all and the salary of the military members isn’t the same as civilians so until you know the entire other side please don’t come at people. It’s rude and disrespectful and not welcomed.

    1. Remember most of our doctors are getting their residency time and student bills paid by the military while they PRACTICE on you. There is no wrongful or malpractice in the military… Just sorry about that. There is no comparison of what we subject ourselves to with these students practicing medicine… Agreed 20 years for free healthcare was part of the package. I’d say it’s breech of contract, but what are we going to do? They got what they and we get the shaft.

  12. I live in tbe largest military base area and have my entire life. Military have it good. If you dont tbink so i dare you to try the real world where you can loose your job at any moment. You know how many marrages end when the service member get out?

    1. Julie nix -if you think the military has it so good then join up and stop making comments you know nothing about. When you sacrifice losing a son, daughter, wife, husband, mother, or father then you come back and tell me how good it is! You’re stupid and people like you have no idea what military families go through so shut up or sign up! I’ve lost and have been military wife for 20+ and if I had to do it over again I would have never been because people like you do not appreciate it and you THINK we have it so good!

    2. Military has it good? Well, you have it good because of the Military. How about showing some appreciation instead of spewing off ignorant comments. I don’t think this is the place to be comparing Military vs. Civilian, oh, I’m sorry, “real world”. When your “real” job requires you to risk your life for strangers and be taken away from your family for months/years at a time to work in a dangerous location, come back and we can have a discussion about how good the Military has it. They deserve good health benefits and more!

      Thank you to everyone who serves. I am a Navy Wife and appreciate all you do! Thank you!

      1. AMEN
        My daughters and I have TriCare Prime. My husband was still active in the military when he passed away.
        God Bless All Our Veterans and Active Military
        Thank You All God Bless

  13. It doesn’t matter who the commander in chief is. The real issue here and has been for a long time, is Congress and the House. They only care about their own little state. They will never work together to do anything for the greater good. The majority of them are in the back pockets of the lobbyists. Maybe if we get rid of the lifetime senators, etc and make them 2 terms max we may get people in there that might work a little better together since they’ll now have a deadline. I did my 20 in the Air Force and have been working the TRICARE world in civil service for the last 15 years. It all seems to boil down to the 1%. You know, 1% of the people control 95% of the money. We can all go back and forth spouting all our problems and compare military to civil issues. In the end it’s not really going to accomplish anything. The majority of us are in the same boat, the 99% trying to share the 5% of the money. Promises or not, this is where we are at. There’s way to much wasted effort and spending in the federal government. There’s not enough money in the budget to cover everything everybody wants or demands, especially if we want to keep waging war on everyone that we think threatens us. Something’s got to give. Hopefully it’s not going to be our way of life and freedom. Broken promises or not, I’m glad I have TRICARE and don’t have to deal with the civilian healthcare system costs.

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  15. It totally sucks,I am a disabled vet.and I get ssd my husband just turned 60 I was so over joked I was going to get tricare boy was I wrong because I only selected medicare part A because I went to the VA when it was yi e to sign up for tricare they informed me I had to have medicare part B good by ssd check I don’t make that much. So I signed up thought everything was good to go .I have my medicare part A and B and tricare for life..and my husband who is 10 percent disabled got his military retirement yea..oh no wait he looses his 10 percent pay out of his retirement pay they said he can’t double dip wtf..and he opted for tricare standard now they are changing that..so we will have to change next year and pay for tricare prime.. so there goes more of his pension..this just sticks 27 years for what

  16. Dear Frustrated,
    He may want to check with the VA. While it’s true, we can’t “double dip”, the 10 percent removed from his retirement check should be being paid in a separate check from the VA. This % is tax free off his retirement check.

  17. My husband is on TriCare for Life and I am on TriCare Standard – so when it changes to TriCare Select do I only pay the single fee of $150 or do I have to pay the family fee of $300 – as it will only be me on the Select

  18. The initial promise was free medical when retired. That has evolved and will keep evolving. The only thing lawmakers understand is public shaming and votes. So get on their Facebook page and be heard.

  19. My husband is retired military. Originally when he got out of the service we picked up Tricare Prime. Just a couple years ago we were notified that Prime no longer services our area so we needed to go Standard. Are we going to have the opportunity to pick up Prime again? I liked Prime much better. We are located near Pittsburgh Pa.

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