Military families fear health care providers are leaving TRICARE networks


(Photo: U.S. Navy, Jacob Sippel, Naval Hospital Jacksonville Public Affairs/Released).

By Team MOC

Complaints submitted to the Department of Defense Military Family Readiness Council note a recent pattern of doctors and providers leaving the TRICARE network. Later this year, the military health care plan will see a change in contracts, which will include the consolidation of three regions into two.

According to Military Times:

“There’s concern about providers backing out of the network,” said Chief Master Sergeant of the Air Force James Cody, who is a member of the council and has seen the submissions. He asked about oversight DoD is providing, given the anxiety of some service members and families. “We’re already seeing some ill effects,” he said.

Cody did not provide the number of complaints the council has received, nor the number of providers leaving the network.

The Council’s meeting in Washington, D.C. on February 15 was “packed to beyond capacity” and more than 70 submissions for the meeting had been made, according to their Facebook page. The meeting included presentations about military special needs programs, the Defense-State Liaison Office, and heath care with regards to pediatrics.

Pending one outstanding challenge to the contract, TRICARE’s East Region will merge the North and South regions and service will be provided by Humana Government Business, Inc.; the West Region’s service will be provided by Health Net Federal Services, LLC. TRICARE anticipates the changes to happen in late 2017 with a nine-month transition period.

Maps of the US showing transition from North, South and West regions to East and West regions.
(Photo: Tricare.mil)

TRICARE maintains that contract changes mean improvements, although “most of these improvements will be behind the scenes.” They note that improvements will include “shorter wait times for specialty care appointments, improved communication between your military and civilian providers” and “easier referral process.”