Lose Your Tricare Select Coverage? Here's How to Get It Back

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In this June 19, 2012 file photo, Dr. Bruce Stowell examines a patient at his office in Grants Pass, Ore.  (AP Photo/Jeff Barnard)
In this June 19, 2012 file photo, Dr. Bruce Stowell examines a patient at his office in Grants Pass, Ore. (AP Photo/Jeff Barnard)

You may have heard that some military retirees now have to pay an annual enrollment fee for Tricare Select health insurance coverage. But what can you do if you neglected to make that payment and saw your Tricare coverage stop because of it?

Tricare has released instructions on how to reinstate health insurance coverage, but retirees must make any necessary payments by June 30 or risk losing coverage for the remainder of the year. They also must make payments retroactive to the beginning of the year to reinstate their lapsed insurance coverage.

Tricare has two coverage groups, Group A and Group B. Members in Group A saw active service prior to Jan. 1, 2018; Group B is for those whose first active service was on or after that date.

Beginning in 2021, retirees in Group A had to begin paying an enrollment fee of $150 annually for an individual or $300 for a family. This equals $12.50 monthly for individual coverage and $25 monthly for family coverage.

The new regulation affected only retirees in Group A; those in Group B have always had to pay an annual fee.

There is no Tricare Select enrollment fee for active-duty family members, medically retired veterans and their family members, or survivors of those who died in service.

Tricare recommends setting up an allotment from retired pay to ensure payments are processed on time. If that isn't possible, recurring payments may be authorized from bank accounts or credit or debit cards.

Retirees who are interested in reinstatement of their Tricare coverage should contact their regional contractor to see the options available.

"We don't want to leave anyone behind who may have been disenrolled from Tricare Select, but wants to keep their Tricare coverage," said Mark Ellis, chief of the Policy Programs Section of the Tricare Health Plan at the Defense Health Agency. "In order for us to continue to support your health care needs through the Tricare program, you must take action to reinstate your coverage.

"If you don't request reinstatement, you'll only be able to get care from a military hospital or clinic if space is available," he added. "You'll also be responsible for covering all of your civilian health care costs."

Those who do not reinstate their coverage during the six-month grace period won't be able to do so again until the annual open enrollment period, which runs from November to December, or if they experience a Qualifying Life Event, such as moving or experiencing a change in the number of dependents.

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