With or without sequestration, the military is planning to downsize in the coming months, and that includes changes to TRICARE. In particular, the areas where TRICARE Prime is available is expected to shrink come October 1, and in an effort to help troops prepare, TRICARE Management Activity recently unveiled a new tool to allow servicemembers to search their availability based on their ZIP code, according to Military Times.
The tool can be found at PSA Zip Code Look-Up, and is helpful because it allows beneficiaries to see if their area will be impacted by the impending changes to TRICARE. Specifically, the policy is changing so that TRICARE Prime only is available to servicemembers who live within 40 miles of a military base. Other retirees and family members who live outside that range will have to switch to the standard plan. The hope is that the slight change will save as much as $65 billion a year.
"People who use Standard are very, very pleased with it. Our customer service satisfaction of those using Standard is the highest of all our beneficiaries," Dian Lawhon, TRICARE's director of beneficiary education and support, said recently, according to the publication.
Limiting the availability of TRICARE Prime is not the only way officials have considered cutting costs. According to Military.com, proposed increases to the annual enrollment fees have been suggested.