Retirees Must Start Paying for Tricare Select Now or Lose Coverage in January

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Military retirees receive their yearly flu vaccination.
Military retirees receive their yearly flu vaccination at the BMEDDAC Grafenwoehr Health Clinic on Tower Barracks, Oct. 20, 2016. (U.S. Army)

Most retirees enrolled in Tricare Select will soon be required to pay a new monthly premium or lose their health insurance coverage.

A little noticed provision in the 2017 National Defense Authorization Act is going into effect next year. It authorized the new fees, which will impact only retirees, their family members and survivors on Tricare Select.

You are not affected if you use other Tricare programs such as Tricare For Life, Tricare Prime, Tricare Reserve Select, Tricare Retired Reserve or Tricare Young Adult.

The following groups DO NOT have to pay the fee:

  • Retirees who received a medical discharge as well as their families
  • Survivors
  • Active-duty members and their family members.

Beginning Jan. 1, 2021, anyone who is enrolled in the Tricare Select program and is a recipient of retired pay must pay a monthly enrollment fee or their health insurance will be canceled.

This payment deadline is unrelated to Tricare Open Season, which lets members change their Tricare coverage or enroll in a new program. However, some Tricare regional contractors will not let members begin their allotments until open season, which begins Nov. 9.

Related: Tricare Open Enrollment Lets You Change Health Insurance Programs

Tricare requires most retirees to pay the enrollment fee via allotment. Surviving spouses and recipients of Survivor Benefit Plan payments will have to pay the fee via recurring payments from their debit or credit cards or Electronic Funds Transfer from their bank. 

The last day retirees can start an allotment to ensure the payment is made on time is Nov. 20. If you don't start an allotment by that date, you will have to make special arrangements with Tricare for payment of the fees.   

If you don't pay the fees before Jan. 1, 2021, your coverage will end and you will have 180 days from your last paid-through date to request reinstatement of coverage.

If you don't start the allotment on time, you may also have to pay for one or more months coverage upfront while waiting for the allotment to process. 

Depending on your Tricare contractor, you can set up your monthly payment by online self-service, phone or mail.

These fees are new to retirees who are considered "Group A" beneficiaries by Tricare.

Tricare Groups

Two years ago, Tricare instituted two different groups of beneficiaries, Group A and Group B

Group A includes those who entered the service before Jan. 1, 2018; Group B is for those who entered after that date.

Previously, only Group B members had to pay an enrollment fee for Tricare Select.  

How Much Is The Tricare Select Enrollment Fee?

For Group A, the new enrollment fee is $150 annually for an individual and $300 for a family. This equals $12.50 monthly for individual coverage and $25 monthly for family coverage. 

For family members of veterans/retirees in Group B, there is a $471 individual or $942 family enrollment fee each year.

Contact your Tricare Regional Contractor to set up an allotment or to get more details.

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