TRICARE Portability Reduces Moving Stress
By Terri Moon Cronk
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, Aug. 31, 2011 With a single phone call, service member and family beneficiaries under TRICARE Prime can arrive at a new duty station, confident their medical records and prescriptions were transferred and new doctors were lined up for them in advance, a top TRICARE official said.
TRICARE’s “Moving Made Easy” option takes some of the stress out of moving, Navy Rear Adm. (Dr.) Christine Hunter, TRICARE Management Activity deputy director, said in an Aug. 26 interview.
And beneficiaries don’t have to worry about a gap in their coverage, she added.
Service members and their families can make the transfer call prior to moving, during the move, or after they’ve arrived, Hunter said.
Telephone numbers to transfer TRICARE information and find new health care providers are listed by region and overseas at www.tricare.mil.
“This was an initiative of [Defense Secretary Robert M.] Gates who, like [First Lady Michelle] Obama and our leadership chain, were very worried about the stresses of moving on our military families,” Hunter said. “They have a lot to do and a short timeframe in which to do it.”
Based on moves made this summer by active duty troops and their families, TRICARE has racked up 6,000 calls per week to transfer enrollments, Hunter said.
Limited to active duty service members and their families for now, Hunter said the program’s popularity could allow for expansion.
Feedback from users of the program say it’s much more efficient than the former, more complicated system, Hunter said.
“It takes more people on the phones to do it this way, but our contractors feel it’s more efficient, because there are no missed signals,” she said. “Families leave with a completed enrollment, they know where they’re going, and they’re happy.
“All of these things make the interaction more personal and more satisfying for the troops,” Hunter added.