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News | Sept. 8, 2020

Open Season is Coming: Take the Time to Prepare Now

The annual period when TRICARE beneficiaries can enroll in or change health plans for the next year, is right around the corner. Take the time now to learn about your eligibility, fees, as well as health, dental, and vision plan options.

“Now is the time to think through if you or your family members want to make any changes to your current health plan coverage,” said Mark Ellis, chief of the Policy and Programs Section of the TRICARE Health Plan at the Defense Health Agency. “If you do, you’ll be ready to act when open season begins.”

Here are a few frequently asked questions and answers about open season so you’ll be ready.

Q: When is open season?

A: TRICARE Open Season and Federal Benefits Open Season for enrollment or changes is from Nov. 9 to Dec. 14, 2020.

Q: Who can participate in TRICARE Open Season?

A: TRICARE Open Season applies to beneficiaries eligible to enroll in TRICARE Prime (including the US Family Health Plan), TRICARE Prime Remote, or TRICARE Select.

TRICARE Open Season doesn’t apply to active duty service members. It also doesn’t apply to TRICARE For Life (TFL). TFL coverage is automatic if you have Medicare Part A and Part B. Open season also doesn’t apply to premium-based plans. As described in the TRICARE Plans Overview, you can purchase premium-based plans anytime. These plans include:

Q: What can I do during TRICARE Open Season?

A: If you’re eligible to participate in TRICARE Open Season, you have three choices for your 2021 health coverage. You may:

  • Enroll in a plan. If you’re eligible for but aren’t currently enrolled in a TRICARE Prime option or TRICARE Select, you can enroll for 2021 coverage.
  • Change plans. If you’re already enrolled in a TRICARE Prime option or TRICARE Select, you can switch plans for 2021 coverage. You may also change your type of enrollment, for example switching from individual to family enrollment.
  • Do nothing. If you want to stay in your current TRICARE health plan, you don’t have to take any action. You’ll continue in your current health plan through 2021 or as long as you’re eligible. (Note: If you’re a Group AIf you or your sponsor’s initial enlistment or appointment occurred before January 1, 2018, you are in Group A. retiree enrolled in TRICARE Select, you may still have to take action. See the next question about TRICARE Select enrollment fees.)

Enrollment changes made during TRICARE Open Season will go into effect on Jan. 1, 2021.

Q: What are the new TRICARE Select enrollment fees?

A: These fees only apply to TRICARE Select Group A retirees. You’re in Group A if your initial enlistment or appointment or that of your uniformed services sponsor began before Jan. 1, 2018. Group A retirees must pay monthly enrollment fees in order to maintain their TRICARE health coverage. You must set up an enrollment fee payment before the end of TRICARE Open Season to start on Jan. 1, 2021.

The 2021 TRICARE Select enrollment fees for Group A retirees and family members include:       

  • Individual plan: $12.50 per month
  • Family (two or more) plan: $25 per month

Active duty family members enrolled in TRICARE Select will experience no change, and won’t pay enrollment fees. This change doesn’t apply to survivors of deceased active duty service members or medically retired retirees and family members. This also doesn’t apply to you if you use TRICARE For Life, TRICARE Prime, or a premium-based plan.

Group BIf you or your sponsor’s initial enlistment or appointment occurs on or after January 1, 2018, are in Group B. DS retirees (if your initial enlistment or appointment or that of your uniformed services sponsor began on or after Jan. 1, 2018) already pay enrollment fees for their TRICARE Select coverage. 

Q: What is Federal Benefits Open Season?

A: Federal Benefits Open Season allows you to enroll in the Federal Employees Dental and Vision Insurance Program (FEDVIP). This program is managed by the U.S. Office of Personnel Management. It offers eligible TRICARE beneficiaries a choice between multiple vision and dental plans and carriers. If you’re already enrolled in a FEDVIP dental and/or vision plan, your enrollment will automatically continue in 2021. If you wish to make changes to your existing plan, you must do so during open season. Learn more about FEDVIP eligibility to see whether this program is an option for you and your family.

Q: Where can I learn more?

A: To get ready for open season, you can use tools on the TRICARE website, like the TRICARE Plan Finder and TRICARE Compare Cost Tool. These resources help you see which plans you’re eligible for and help you to compare plans and costs, when they become available. You can also learn more about TRICARE Select enrollment fees for Group A retirees.

Now is the time to prepare for open season. Take command of your health, and learn more about your options for coverage next year. If you want to get updates about open season and other TRICARE news, sign up for email alerts.

Lt. Col. Paula Neemann, 15th Healthcare Operations Squadron clinical medicine flight commander, demonstrates several birth options, such as an intrauterine device, at the 15th MDG’s contraceptive clinic at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii, May 6, 2021. The contraceptive clinic opened June 7 to service beneficiaries and provide same-day procedures without a referral. (Photo: U.S. Air Force 2nd Lt. Benjamin Aronson)

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