Tricare Officials Offer Tips for Contract Transition
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, Sept. 1, 2004 Some beneficiaries of the military's Tricare health care system may experience long wait times when calling their new regional contractors.
But the transition to new contracts "will make a strong program better and ultimately result in higher patient satisfaction," Tricare officials said.
Officials suggest conducting business online whenever possible, calling during nonpeak hours and visiting Tricare service centers for face-to-face assistance as ways to beat phone congestion during the transition.
Each regional contractor has made conducting business online easy and fast, officials said. Beneficiaries may enroll or change enrollment information online, search for providers in their local area, and find information on the health plan as well as links to other key sites for information on claims processing and online appointments.
Beneficiaries still may call their regional contractor, officials said, but should understand they might experience longer wait times due to high call volume during the transition. Officials suggest that since more people call on Mondays than any other day, beneficiaries should try to call on other days if they can. Thursdays and Fridays have the least calls, officials said, making these days the best chance for gaining quick access.
The toll-free regional contractor telephone numbers are:
- Tricare North: (877) TRICARE (874-2273).
- Tricare South: (800) 444-5445.
- Tricare West: (888) TRIWEST (874-9378).
Officials also stressed the importance of beneficiaries keeping their Defense Enrollment and Eligibility Reporting System information updated. Failure to keep DEERS information current, they explained, may result in denials of care or pharmacy service, returned claims and undelivered updates about the transition.
To update personal information in DEERS, beneficiaries should visit a local uniformed services personnel office or contact the Defense Manpower Data Center Support Office at (800) 538-9552.
(Compiled from a Tricare news release.)