'I can be a bad ass,’ top health official says, when it comes to making sure Tricare patients get good service
Some Tricare beneficiaries still have problems trying to get medical care, and officials have taken actions to try to improve the performance of contractors, said Navy Vice Adm. Raquel Bono, director of the Defense Health Agency.
Officials are closely monitoring the performance of the two U.S. Tricare contractors, Humana Military in the East region, and Health Net Federal Services in the West region, said Bono, speaking at a family forum Monday at the 2018 AUSA annual meeting.
She said she recently was impressing upon some senior spouses that “it’s extremely important to me that we get the type of performance we need” from the contractors.
And, she told them, “While I may not look like it, I can be a bad ass.”
Defense health officials have issued several corrective action plans to the contractors, among other things. Through August, the contractors were meeting contract requirements at a level of about 80 percent.
She said there are still challenges with the accuracy of the contractors' provider directories. Defense health officials have issued corrective action plans to both contractors regarding these issues. Families have had trouble finding area doctors and other medical providers who are in the Tricare network.
Officials also issued a corrective action plan to Health Net regarding its customer call centers. Humana has corrective action plans regarding claims processing, correspondence, autism care/Applied Behavior Analysis therapy.
Tricare underwent massive changes in January, as three regions were reduced to two, and Tricare Select replaced Tricare Standard and Extra. There have also been increases in some co-pays and some pharmacy costs.
Help spread the word
Bono asked for the help of those in the audience – which included many military spouses – in getting the word out about important changes coming up.
There are new requirements for those who are retiring. To keep Tricare with no break in coverage, the service member must re-enroll within 90 days of retirement.
There are new open enrollment seasons affecting three benefits, all of which will be held Nov. 12 to Dec. 10:
- Those in Tricare Prime or Select who like their plan don’t need to do anything. But anyone wishing to switch from Prime to Select, or vice versa, must do so during that open season. Until now, families could switch at any time. But once the open season is over, a switch can be made only for a qualifying life event. A few examples of those are moving, retiring, separating from active duty, getting married, having children, and getting divorced. (Tricare.mil/openseason)
- The Tricare Retiree Dental Program ends Dec. 31. To have dental coverage for themselves and their family members through the government in 2019, retirees must enroll in the FEDVIP plan during that open enrollment season which starts Nov. 12. (Tricare.benefeds.com)
- Retirees and their family members and active duty family members (not active duty) will also have access to new vision coverage under the FEDVIP, during that open enrollment season which starts Nov. 12. (Tricare.benefeds.com)