Veterans Corner: Plan now: TRICARE Select enrollment fees for Group A retirees coming January 2021

By Raymond Taylor
PREVIEW Columnist

Did you hear the news about TRICARE Select enrollment fees? TRICARE Select Group A retirees must begin paying enrollment fees to maintain health coverage starting on Jan. 1, 2021. TRICARE Select is the name of the plan that replaced the former TRICARE Standard and TRICARE Extra programs in 2018. 

You’re in Group A if you or your sponsor’s initial enlistment or appointment occurred before Jan. 1, 2018. If your initial enlistment or appointment or that of your uniformed services sponsor began before Jan. 1, 2018. You may have received a letter about these changes. This is the first time this beneficiary group will pay enrollment fees, a change mandated by Congress.

“If you’re a Group A retiree, you must set up payment for your TRICARE Select fees before the end of TRICARE Open Season,” said Mark Ellis, chief of the Policy and Programs Section of the TRICARE Health Plan at the Defense Health Agency. “Open season runs from Nov. 9 until Dec. 14. If you’re eligible, you may also have the option to switch your enrollment to TRICARE Prime.”

During TRICARE Open Season (Nov. 9-Dec.14), you may set up a monthly allotment, where feasible, through your regional or overseas contractor for your monthly payments to start on Jan. 1, 2021. If you don’t receive your retirement or other pay from a military pay center, you can make payments via electronic funds transfer from your U.S. bank account, credit card or debit card. Your regional or overseas contractor will guide you in setting up payment.

The enrollment fees are:

• Individual plan: $12.50 per month or $150 annually.

• Family (two or more) plan: $25 per month or $300 annually.

The fee change only affects Group A retirees and their family members enrolled in TRICARE Select and TRICARE Overseas Program Select. Most groups will experience no change. This change doesn’t impact TRICARE Select beneficiaries in these groups:

• Active-duty family members.

• Survivors of deceased active-duty service members.

• Medically retired retirees and their family members.

This change doesn’t impact you if you’re using one of the following plans:

• TRICARE For Life.

• TRICARE Prime.

• TRICARE Reserve Select.

• TRICARE Retired Reserve.

• TRICARE Young Adult.

Are you and your family members enrolled in different plans? Only those family members enrolled in TRICARE Select (with a Group A retiree sponsor) pay the new enrollment fee. If enrollment is only for one family member, then they would pay the individual enrollment fee, not the family enrollment fee. If one family member is enrolled in TRICARE Prime and another is enrolled in TRICARE Select, you’ll pay the appropriate enrollment fees for both plans. Remember that you pay TRICARE Prime and TRICARE Select individual and family fees separately.

If you want to check if your health plan has enrollment fees and what they may be, you can visit the TRICARE Costs tool. There you can also find other costs or compare costs of different plans. You can also find many costs in the TRICARE Costs and Fees Sheet.

Visit the TRICARE Select Enrollment Fees page for updates. If you want to get updates about open season and other TRICARE news, sign up for email alerts.

Vets4Vets grant

Vets4Vets has received a grant from the Colorado Department of Military and Veteran Affairs. This is to support veterans in our community through the following assistance: housing, utilities, mental health counseling, dental services, travel assistance, automobile repairs, gas and food cards, and emergency veteran assistance. 

Contact Vets4Vets at 799-VETS or www.Vets4VetsPSCO.org.

Contact information

Veterans: Thank you for your service. Welcome home.

For further information on VA benefits, please call or stop by the Archuleta County Veterans Service Office (VSO), located at the Pagosa Springs Senior Center in the Ross Aragon Community Center on Hot Springs Boulevard.

The office: 264-4013, fax number: 264-4014, and email is raytaylor@archuletacounty.org. Bring your DD Form 214 (discharge) for applications to VA programs or benefits for which the veteran may be entitled to enroll, and for filing in the Archuleta County VSO. Always leave a message and phone number to contact you.

The following veterans groups meet in Pagosa Springs:

• American Legion Post 108: second Wednesday of the month at 6 p.m., 287 Hermosa St.

• Veterans for Veterans: every Tuesday at 10 a.m., Tennyson Building Event Center, 197 Navajo Trail Drive. Breakfast meeting on the first Tuesday of the month at 9 a.m. Contact 799-8387 for more details.

• Combat Veterans PTSD Group: every other Tuesday at noon, Community United Methodist Church, Lewis Street. Contact Gary Hanneman at 946-2540.

• Women’s Group of Spouses of Veterans: first and third Wednesdays at 5:30 p.m., Dr. Carter’s office; contact Charlotte at 903-9690.

Important information

• 799-VETS, www.Vets4VetsPSCO.org.

• Durango VA Outpatient Clinic: 247-2214.

• Farmington VA Center: (505) 326-4383.

• VAMC Albuquerque, N.M.: (800) 465-8262.

• VA Health Care Emergency Notification: (844) 724-7842.

The Veterans Crisis Line offers free, confidential support to veterans in crisis, as well as their family and friends 24/7/365. Call (800) 273-8255, chat online or text 838255.

This story was posted on October 18, 2020.