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By Patricia Kime – Staff writer
Are you one of the Tricare Prime beneficiaries who will be affected by the shrinking of Prime service areas scheduled to take effect Oct. 1?
Tricare Management Activity has created a ZIP Code tool to help you.
Available at PSA Zip Code Look-Up, the tool allows beneficiaries to type in their address’ five digits to see if they “live in an area that is changing,” according to Tricare.
The site also has information on contacting Tricare regional contractors, receiving email alerts about the upcoming changes and viewing Tricare’s explanation of the Prime Service Area reductions.
Beginning Oct. 1, Tricare Prime, the military’s version of an HMO, will shrink to areas within 40 miles of an active or former military base — a change that will force 173,000 retirees and family members to switch to Tricare Standard, the military’s version of a fee-for-service plan.
Active-duty members and their families are not affected; they can use Standard or Tricare Prime Remote, a program for those in rural areas.
The Pentagon says the cuts will save the government $45 million to $65 million a year, based on estimates that DoD pays an average of about $600 more per year per beneficiary to provide Prime to compared to Standard.