The Pentagon announced this week that it will end its walk-in administrative services at all TRICARE service centers in the U.S. TRICARE beneficiaries will be able to use the walk-in services to access their military benefits until April 1.
There are currently 189 TRICARE medical service centers around the country. Half of the walk-in visits to the centers are for in- and out-processing and requests to switch primary health care providers. While walk-in services will no longer be available, Pentagon officials said servicemembers and veterans can still complete any administrative task online or by phone.
"The change will not – let me repeat that – will not affect any TRICARE medical benefit or health care service," Pentagon spokesman Army Col. Steve Warren said in a statement. "What it will do is allow the department to save $250 million over the next five years, allowing TRICARE to invest in more important services."
Pentagon officials added that the TRICARE website receives about 38,000 hits each day.
The first TRICARE service center opened in the mid '90s, according to the health care system's website. Most of the service centers are located in military hospitals and clinics. Although the walk-in services are ceasing in the U.S., the TRICARE website states that the services will continue at overseas facilities.