Some military retirees will see higher Tricare enrollment fees next year, while some out-of- pocket costs will increase slightly.
The enrollment fee adjustment, announced on Tricare's website and in letters sent by mail to beneficiaries this month, are part of an annual fee change based on the retirement pay cost of living adjustment (COLA), the letter states. The retiree COLA for 2019 is 2.9 percent.
Increased Costs for Retirees
Starting next year, individual military retirees enrolled in Tricare Prime will pay $297 per year, while families will pay $594. That's roughly an $8 and $16 increase respectively over 2018 rates.
Tricare for Life users are not affected by the change.
Out-of-pocket costs for some Tricare Prime retirees also will rise slightly. In 2019, fees for in-network emergency room visits will increase $1 to $61 per visit, while fees for inpatient hospital admission will increase $4 to $154.
For current retirees using Tricare Select, primary care outpatient visits will also increase by $1 to $29, while urgent care visits will increase by $1 to $29 per visit. Emergency room visits will also increase by $2 to $111.
Increased Costs for Active Duty Families, Guard and Reserve
Active-duty families using Tricare Select also will see some fee increases, according to the updated fee chart on Tricare's website.
Service members who joined the military after Jan. 1, 2018 or who are in one of the system's premium-based plans will have a slightly higher annual deductible in 2019, increasing by $1 for individuals to $51, and $2 for families to $102 for pay grades E-4 and below. For those who joined after 2018 in pay grades E-5 and above, deductibles in 2019 will increase by up to $8, hitting $154 for and $308 for families.
All families on Tricare Select also will pay slightly higher out-of-pocket costs for some services. Emergency room visits and inpatient admissions will increase by as much as $2 per visit for all users.
-- Amy Bushatz can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.