FALLS CHURCH, Va. –
Will you be embarking on a permanent change of station (PCS) this summer? This can bring big adjustments for you and your family. However, whether you’re moving stateside or overseas, your TRICARE coverage will move with you. Still, you need to be prepared.
“If you have PCS orders coming up, following some simple steps can help for a smooth transition to your new area,” said Jeremy Schneider, TRICARE Health Plan program analyst. “We encourage beneficiaries to plan ahead and reach out to their regional contractor early if they have questions about their TRICARE coverage or need help finding support in their new location.”
Listed below are seven questions to think about, so you can stay a step ahead of your move.
1. What health plans are available in your new location?
You may have different health plan options when you move. If you’re an active duty service member moving stateside, you must have either TRICARE Prime or TRICARE Prime Remote. Your eligible family members, however, may have additional options, such as TRICARE Select or US Family Health Plan.
Moving overseas? If command-sponsored, active duty family members can enroll in TRICARE Prime Overseas or TRICARE Prime Remote Overseas. If you’re retired, you and your family members may be eligible for TRICARE Select Overseas.
To check health plans that you may be eligible for, go to the TRICARE Plan Finder or review the TRICARE Plans Overview.
2. Do you need to fill prescriptions or schedule routine exams?
It’s important to anticipate your medical needs for the move itself in the short-term, as well as what you’ll need long-term once you’ve settled in.
- Fill your prescriptions to make sure you have enough medication to last throughout your move and immediately after.
- Schedule routine physicals or immunizations before the move.
- If you’ve had any ongoing health issues, prioritize visiting your current primary care manager (PCM), family doctor, or specialist to discuss what kinds of care or services you may need in your new area.
3. Will you need to transfer your medical records?
Transferring your medical records will help the transition to a new provider. So, ask for copies of your medical and dental records before you move. You may even want to have these documents with you for safe keeping and easy access when moving. If you’re enrolled to a military hospital or clinic, your electronic medical records will transfer to your new duty station. Your new military hospital or clinic, PCM, or family doctor may also request copies of your medical records for you. If you have questions about how to start the transfer process, reach out to your medical provider or TRICARE contractor.
4. When do you update your DEERS records?
Correct information in DEERS will prevent problems if you or a family member needs care while moving. Before and after you move, make sure the information for you and your family, like your contact info and new address, is correct and accurate in the Defense Enrollment Eligibility Reporting System (DEERS). As outlined in the TRICARE Qualifying Life Events Fact Sheet, your DEERS record lists your service status, family status, and TRICARE coverage. Remember, DEERS doesn’t transfer your TRICARE enrollment. Any changes you make to your health plan will go into effect after your address change shows in DEERS. You can make updates to DEERS online, by phone, or in person.
5. When should you disenroll from your current coverage?
Don’t disenroll from your health plan before moving. Once you’re at your new location and you have updated your address in DEERS, you have 90 days from the date of the move to make changes to your enrollment. Remember, moving is a Qualifying Life Event (QLE). A QLE allows you and your eligible family members to enroll in or change your TRICARE health plan outside of TRICARE Open Season. If you disenroll before you move, you’ll only be able to get care at a military hospital or clinic, if space is available.
6. When do you notify your new regional contractor of your arrival?
Once you’ve finally arrived at your new location, contact the TRICARE contractor for your new region. They’ll transfer your previous coverage to your new location, if necessary. Your contractor won’t change if you’re moving within the same region. But you may need to find another PCM or health care provider. If you’re overseas, your TRICARE Overseas Program Regional Call Center in your new location can assist you with setting up care.
7. Will you need to change your dental plan?
For those enrolled in the TRICARE Dental Program (TDP), your dental coverage moves with you. Just notify the TDP contractor, United Concordia Companies, Inc., of your new address and contact information. And you can visit the TDP website to find a new dentist. If you have dental coverage through the Federal Employees Dental and Vision Insurance Program, reach out to your dental plan provider for guidance.
If you’re moving, make sure your TRICARE coverage is set to help you avoid any gaps in coverage. Visit the Moving page to find more tips and information to help connect you to the resources you need.
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