View Full Version : Tricare Reserve Select changes coming Oct. 1

08-13-07, 06:32 PM
Tricare Reserve Select changes coming Oct. 1
Times Staff
Posted : Monday Aug 13, 2007 17:29:21 EDT

Defense Department officials have streamlined the cumbersome Tricare Reserve Select program and plan to launch the new version Oct. 1, saying it will be “affordable and simpler,” with only one level of premiums instead of the current three tiers.

TRS, which National Guard and Reserve members may purchase as health insurance when they are in drilling status, was authorized by Congress in 2005. Although Pentagon officials were not keen on the program, it has received several tweaks and improvements.

The current changes — also mandated by Congress and in the works for months — are the most significant yet, officials say.

“All qualified members of the Selected Reserve who purchase health care coverage under the new TRS will pay the same low monthly premium,” said Army Maj. Gen. Elder Granger, deputy director of the Tricare Management Activity.

Monthly premiums are $81 for the service member and $253 for member and family coverage. TRS offers coverage comparable to TRICARE Standard and Extra. The revamped TRS also includes expanded survivor coverage, continuously open enrollment and other upgrades. Service agreements and differing qualifications for each of the three tiers are eliminated.

There are now only two qualifications for TRS under the restructured program. First, an individual must be a member of the Selected Reserve. Second, he or she must not be eligible for the Federal Employee Health Benefits program or currently covered under FEHB (either under their own eligibility or through a family member with FEHB).

“It is also critical to note that all current participants in the three-tier TRS program must renew their coverage if they want it to continue past Sept. 30, 2007,” stated a Tricare news release. “In essence, the old TRS ceases to exist and the new TRS starts Oct. 1, 2007.”

A letter from Thomas Hall, assistant defense secretary for reserve affairs, was sent to the roughly 11,500 members currently covered by TRS. The letter explains the program changes and how to continue TRS coverage under the restructured program.

All qualified members of the Selected Reserve who wish to purchase TRS under the restructured program must fill out the new form and forward it to the appropriate Tricare regional contractor. If the member is new to TRS, or currently mails the monthly premium payment, then one month’s premium must be sent with the form.

Two forms, for the old TRS program in effect through Sept. 30 and the new TRS program beginning Oct. 1, are available to eligible members of the Selected Reserve from the National Guard and Reserve Web portal. Since the current three-tiered program remains in effect until Oct. 1, eligible members who wish to purchase TRS coverage now, and then continue under the new program, will need to send in both forms.

Selected Reserve members can get more information on TRS and Tricare regional contractor points of contact by entering their profile at the “My Benefits” portal on the Tricare Web site.

National Guard and Reserve members also can contact their reserve component points of contact if they have additional questions about their eligibility for TRS.