When the new TRICARE Select enrollment fee payment process began last year, retirees from the Coast Guard, the U.S. Public Health Service (USPHS) Commissioned Corps, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Commissioned Officer Corps were not eligible to set up an allotment to pay the fee. Their only options were paying by credit card or electronic funds transfer because the Coast Guard Pay and Personnel Center did not have the capability to pay monthly TRICARE fees directly from a beneficiary’s retired pay.
That issue has been resolved, TRICARE announced recently: Coast Guard, USPHS, and NOAA retirees now can establish an allotment to pay TRICARE enrollment fees, an option many families find more convenient and worry-free.
MOAA opposed the new TRICARE Select enrollment fee when it was proposed as part of military health system (MHS) reform and successfully fought to cut the annual fee by two-thirds – reducing it from $450 per individual/$900 family to $150 individual/$300 family for Group A/Grandfathered retirees (those who entered service before Jan. 1, 2018).
[RELATED: What to Do If You’ve Been Disenrolled]
The TRICARE Select enrollment fee was passed into law with many other MHS reforms in the FY 2017 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). As these reforms move into the implementation phase, MOAA has shifted to an oversight role to protect beneficiary interests throughout the process.
For example, a MOAA member alerted us to a potential problem with the TRICARE Select enrollment fee implementation in November. As a retired USPHS officer, he was mistakenly allowed to request an allotment to pay the new Select enrollment fee even though the USPHS pay system did not support an allotment for TRICARE fees at the time.
MOAA reached out to the Defense Health Agency and the TRICARE contractors to request this issue be addressed and sought assurances that no impacted beneficiaries will be disenrolled if their allotment request is accepted in error.
[RELATED: MOAA’s 2020-21 TRICARE Guide]
TRICARE encourages beneficiaries to pay enrollment fees via allotment whenever possible, so the fix is good news for Coast Guard, USPHS, and NOAA retirees. If you would like to set up an allotment, contact the TRICARE contractor for your region.
MOAA appreciates member feedback as we continue to provide oversight on MHS reform implementation.