Tricare hospitalization fees go up Oct. 1

Fees for hospitalization under the military’s Tricare health plan are increasing on Thursday, the start of the new fiscal year, Tricare Management Activity officials announced Wednesday.

For active-duty families, the cost of using Tricare Standard or Tricare Extra will add less than $1 a day to their inpatient costs. The fee has been $15.65 a day, and increases on Oct. 1 to $16.30. The maximum charge per hospitalization remains $25.

For retirees and their families, and other eligible beneficiaries, the cost of inpatient admission under Tricare Standard will be $645 or 25 percent of the total charge, whichever is less. This is an increase from the previous rate of $535 a day. The charge is in addition to the requirement that patients pay 25 percent of the allowable cost for professional services related to the hospitalization.

For inpatient mental health care, the out-of-pocket cost for retirees and their families increases a modest $5 a day on Oct. 1, to $197. The charge could end up being less because Tricare only requires payment of 25 percent of the billed charge or $197, whichever is less.

No increases are being made in Tricare enrollment fees, deductibles or copayments, under an agreement made between Defense Secretary Robert Gates and Congress.