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Stay Informed: November Hot Topics from HNFS

Thursday, November 9, 2023

TRICARE Open Season: Consider Your Options

TRICARE Open Season begins in just a few days! 

What is TRICARE Open Season?
This year, TRICARE Open Season runs Nov. 13 through Dec. 12. Take the time to review your and your family member’s current health plans and consider your needs for 2024. During TRICARE Open Season, eligible TRICARE beneficiaries can enroll in or change their TRICARE Prime or TRICARE Select plan. Outside of TRICARE Open Season, you can only make TRICARE Prime or TRICARE Select plan changes after a qualifying life event, such as marriage, moving, retirement, birth of child, or a change in other health insurance. 

Open Season does not apply to TRICARE Retired Reserve, TRICARE Reserve Select and TRICARE Young Adult (which may be purchased year-round) or TRICARE For Life (as there is no enrollment).

TRICARE Open Season Choices
If you’re eligible to take part in TRICARE Open Season, you have three choices:

  • Stay in your plan
  • Change plans
  • Enroll in a plan

Enrollment and plan changes can be done online, via mail or fax, or by telephone and go into effect on Jan. 1, 2024.

Take a look at direct care options
Military hospitals and clinics are the core of the Military Health System and are located on military installations around the world. Military hospitals and clinics are also referred to as direct care.

If you are enrolled in TRICARE Select and live in a Prime Service Area, you might want to choose TRICARE Prime this Open Season. If you stay enrolled in TRICARE Select, you still may be able to get direct care services if space is available. If you are enrolled in TRICARE Prime but have a civilian primary care manager (PCM), consider switching to your local military hospital and clinic. In some cases, this may be required. Keep in mind, you can change your PCM at any time throughout the year without a qualifying life event.

Find more information about direct care and how to locate a military hospital or clinic

Federal Benefits Open Season
In addition to TRICARE, eligible beneficiaries can also enroll in or make changes to Federal Employees Dental and Vision Insurance Program (FEDVIP) vision and dental plans. Visit www.benefeds.com for more information. The Federal Benefits Open Season runs from Nov. 13 through Dec. 11. Note: The FEDVIP open season is one day shorter than TRICARE Open Season.


Understanding Emergency Vs. Urgent Care 

Knowing when to seek emergency care versus urgent care can sometimes be tricky. Take a moment to learn the difference between emergency and urgent care so you can be ready should you find yourself in need of services. 

An emergency threatens your life, limbs or eyesight. Common examples include chest pain or trouble breathing. If you reasonably think you have an emergency, go to the nearest emergency room (ER) or call 911. Be sure to follow up with your primary doctor after any ER visit. 

Urgent care, by comparison, is an option for care needed within 24 hours before it becomes an emergency. Examples might include a sprained ankle or a deep cut. Most TRICARE beneficiaries can visit an urgent care center without a referral, but be sure to review urgent care rules for your plan. 

Not sure whether you should head to the ER or an urgent care center? The Military Health System (MHS) offers its MHS Nurse Advice Line 24/7, which allows you to speak to a licensed health care professional to get medical advice. 

Don’t forget, you also have telehealth options when it comes to urgent care. Connect with a telehealth provider for many of your physical or mental health care needs from the comfort of home.