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Retiree Enrollment Begins for TRICARE-Medicare Test

By Douglas J. Gillert
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, July 28, 1998 – Military retirees over age 65 began enrolling July 15 in TRICARE Senior Prime at Madigan Army Medical Center, Fort Lewis, Wash.

Madigan is the first site selected to demonstrate Senior Prime, also known as Medicare Subvention. The medical center begins offering its health care services under the plan Sept. 1.

The test runs through Dec. 31, 2000. Defense health officials hope it will show DoD medical facilities can provide cost-effective health care to Medicare-eligible military beneficiaries. If the test is successful, the program is expected to eventually become available to military retirees everywhere.

If you enroll in Senior Prime, you continue to receive Medicare benefits as well as TRICARE, but you only pay for Medicare B coverage -- $43.80 per month, with a $100 annual deductible.

Enrollment will begin soon at the other demonstration sites: Keesler Air Force Base, Miss.; Brooke Army Medical Center, Wilford Hall Medical Center and Sheppard Air Force Base, all in Texas; Fort Sill, Okla.; Fort Carson and the U.S. Air Force Academy, both in Colorado; Naval Medical Center, San Diego; and Dover Air Force Base, Del.

Enrollment at all the test sites is first-come, first- served and limited to a portion of the total eligible population, officials said. For example, the Madigan Senior Prime test is open to 3,300 Medicare-eligible retirees -- 18,000 live in the area.

Military retirees and their spouses can enroll for the test if they meet all the following conditions:

o Are age 65 or older.

o Are covered by Medicare Part A and Part B.

o Live in a ZIP code in the demonstration site's service area.

o Received care in a military medical facility before July 1, 1997, or became eligible for Medicare after July 1, 1997.

o Do not have end-stage kidney disease.

o Have not elected hospice coverage.

o Agree to get all covered health care services through their primary care manager, except for emergency and urgent care.

If you're under 65, enrolled in TRICARE Prime at a demonstration site and already have a primary care manager at your participating military medical facility, you can elect the Senior Prime option once you turn 65.

For details and enrollment assistance, contact the TRICARE Service Center or military medical facility health benefits adviser nearest you. More information is also available on the Internet at the TRICARE and Medicare Web sites, www.ha.osd.mil and www.medicare.gov.

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