Updated Jan. 19, 2021, to clarify survivor applicability.
New TRICARE Select enrollment fees take effect in 2021 – a first for retirees who joined the military prior to 2018 and their families. Here’s what you should know about the new fees, and how you can ensure your medical benefit continues without interruption.
Q. Does this apply to TRICARE for Life or TRICARE Prime beneficiaries?
A. No. Only TRICARE Select retiree beneficiaries in Group A – those whose sponsor entered service before Jan. 1, 2018 – must pay the new fees beginning Jan. 1, 2021.
Q. How much are the fees?
A. Annual enrollment fees are $150 for an individual or $300 for a family. The Select enrollment fee will be billed monthly at $12.50/month for individual and $25/month for family coverage.
Q. Are any TRICARE Select Group A beneficiaries exempt from the fees?
A. Yes. Members of following groups won’t pay the new fees:
- Active duty family members
- Survivors of members who died on active duty
- Medically retired beneficiaries, or their family members
Q. Is anything else changing about TRICARE Select?
A. Yes. As of Jan. 1, 2021, the catastrophic cap for TRICARE Select retiree Group A beneficiaries will increase from $3,000 to $3,500. Learn more about how TRICARE catastrophic caps work here.
Q. I don’t remember any debate or legislation regarding new fees. Why are these fees being charged now?
A. The debate took place in 2016, with MOAA and other groups successfully fighting proposals during the FY 2017 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) process that would’ve resulted in massive upticks in fees and beneficiary cost shares. Plans called for enrollment fees up to $900 for some beneficiaries, and even an annual TRICARE for Life enrollment fee of up to $632.
Instead, the NDAA included the more modest fees that are now being implemented. MOAA has continued to fight further fee increases, proposals for which began in rapid fashion after the 2017 NDAA took effect.
Q. How do I pay the fees?
A. If you receive retirement or other pay from a military pay center, you’ll have the fees taken out of that payment. If not, you’ll be asked to set up a recurring payment from a credit or debit card, or via an electronic funds transfer (EFT) from your U.S. bank account. You should receive notification regarding the fees from TRICARE later this summer, per the TRICARE website.
Q. What if I don’t pay the fees?
A. You’ll be disenrolled from TRICARE, and you’ll have 90 days from your paid-through date to contact your regional contractor and request reinstatement. Any care you receive would have to come at a military treatment facility on a space-available basis.
Q. What is MOAA doing to help beneficiaries?
A. Along with getting the word out on the new fee structure, MOAA is pushing Congress and DoD to establish a longer grace period so that no beneficiary will lose coverage in 2021 because they don’t pay their fees.
Q. What about TRICARE Select Group B members?
A. Group B sponsors entered service on or after Jan. 1, 2018. Group B retirees are currently a small group of medical retirees (and their family members). These beneficiaries will continue to pay annual enrollment fees – for 2020, Group B retiree enrollment fees for Select are $471 for an individual or $942 for a family. Group B enrollment fees are increased every year by the military retirement cost of living adjustment. Unlike Group A, Group B medical retirees and their families are not exempt from enrollment fees.
Q. Where can I get more information?
A. TRICARE’s TRICARE Select Enrollment Fees website includes a breakdown of the new fee structure, as well as links to other plan features and ways you can reach out for further guidance.
Q. How can I keep up with updates to this issue, or other TRICARE benefits?
A. Bookmark MOAA’s health care news page for the latest information.