Federal Health Care News



On Dec. 4, 2017, the chief of staff, Army, announced Maj. Gen. Ronald J. Place will be assigned to be director, National Capital Medical Directorate, Defense Health Agency, Bethesda, Md.  Prior to this assignment Place was co-lead, Health System Project Management Office; and special assistant to the commanding general, U.S. Army Medical Command/The Surgeon General, Washington, D.C.


The Defense Health Agency will hold a webinar on Dec. 13, 2017, to answer questions about the TRICARE program. 

The webinar will include a panel of subject matter experts to answer your questions about TRICARE benefits, health plan options, dental plan options, upcoming changes to TRICARE and more.

Our panelists include representatives from major TRICARE offices and programs, including:

TRICARE Dental Program

TRICARE Pharmacy Program

TRICARE Overseas Program


Reserve Component

TRICARE Policy and Benefits

Register to participate on the Dec. 13 webinar. Registration is limited.


TRICARE announced provisions to serve those affected by the wildfires in California. 

Emergency refill procedures are in place for Los Angeles and Ventura counties, effective Dec. 6-16, 2017

To get an emergency refill, take the prescription bottle to any TRICARE retail network pharmacy. To find a network pharmacy, call Express Scripts at 1-877-363-1303, or search the network pharmacy locator.

If possible, visit the pharmacy where the prescription was filled.  If using a retail chain, one can fill the prescription at another store in that chain.  .

If a beneficiary needs durable medical equipment replaced, TRICARE or ECHO may be able to help with replacements when the item is lost or damaged.  Contact the managed care support contractors in the region for more information.



On Nov. 29, 2017, Navy, Rear Adm. David Lane relinquished his position as director of the National Capital Region Medical Directorate (NCR-MD) to Army Maj. Gen. Ronald Place.

The ceremony was held during the 126th annual meeting of AMSUS, the Society of Federal Health Professionals. 

The ceremony combined the sea service’s tradition of bells to mark arrivals – six for Lane and Place, and eight for Bono, corresponding to their ranks – and the land force’s tradition of “passing colors,” to ensure the continuation of leadership. Bono said the melding was particularly appropriate, given the joint nature of NCR-MD.

The directorate was established in October 2013 to exercise authority, direction and control over Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland; Fort Belvoir Community Hospital in Virginia; and their subordinate clinics.

Board-certified in both general and colorectal surgery, Place deployed to Afghanistan with the 250th Forward Surgical Team (Airborne) in October 2001. For most of last year, Place has been a focal point in managing and coordinating the historic MHS reforms included in the 2017National Defense Authorization Act.

In his remarks, Place said change is never easy and that Lane is “a tough act to follow.”

“But readiness is our central mission, and that’s not going to change,” Place said. “We need to continue focusing on the health readiness of the force – fit to fight, ready to win – and a ready medical force that can perform the mission anytime, anywhere, at a moment’s notice.”

“Practice may never make perfect,” Place said, “but it’s our obligation to continuously learn.”


According to a survey by the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW), more than half (52 percent) of military retirees are unaware of the changes to the TRICARE program, scheduled to go into effect Jan. 1.

Thirty percent of respondents were TRICARE Prime beneficiaries but only 12 percent said they were aware that their Prime copays will increase Jan. 1.

In addition, one-third of percent of the retirees who use the mail-order program said they were unaware of the changes to the program.  Beginning Jan. 1, beneficiaries using the mail order program will be required to opt-in annually for each medication they want automatic refill.

The VFW survey also found that users prefer TRICARE's current cost-sharing payment system over a new flat-rate fee system that will start Jan. 1. Currently most fees for care are based on a "percentage of allowed cost" system, and the amount users pay out of pocket depends on location, type of doctor seen and type of appointment, among other factors.

The system set to roll out Jan. 1 shifts most care to flat rate system with one fee for appointments with specialists and one for primary care. Under that plan, retirees will pay $45 to see an in-network specialist and $35 for non-preventative primary care appointments.

TRICARE officials have shared these changes through letters, hand-outs, social media, newsletters, podcasts, blog posts and public appearances, among other methods.

VFW surveyed 11,800 military retirees between Oct. 26 and Nov. 8.


On January 1, 2018, a new program will replace TRICARE Standard and Extra.  TRICARE Select is a fee-for-service option in the United States that allows you to get care from any TRICARE-authorized provider.

TRICARE Select offers greater coverage for preventive services with TRICARE Select. Preventive care allows you to address health problems before they become life threatening. Examples of TRICARE-covered preventive services include cancer screenings and vaccines, in addition to well-woman and well-child exams.

If you currently use TRICARE Standard and TRICARE Extra, you don’t pay anything for certain preventive services. But for all other preventive services, beneficiaries pay between 15–25 percent of the cost after their yearly deductible is met, depending on the plan and beneficiary category.

With TRICARE Select, beneficiaries won’t pay anything out-of-pocket for covered preventive services if they are provided by a network provider. However, if a non-network provider is used TRICARE will cover fewer preventive services.  Some of the benefits offered through TRICARE Select beginning in 2018, include:

In addition, a new preventive service added this year for both TRICARE Prime and TRICARE Select is aimed at adults with a Body Mass Index (BMI) of 30 kg/m2 or higher and children or adolescents with a BMI value greater than the 95th percentile. Intensive, multi-component behavioral interventions to promote sustained weight loss (12 to 26 sessions per year) are covered when rendered by a TRICARE-authorized provider.

Types of behavioral management interventions include diet and physical activity guidance, strategies to promote and maintain lifestyle changes and more. This addition is a covered benefit regardless of whether the beneficiary uses a network or non-network provider, though costs are typically lower with a network provider.

Learn more about upcoming changes and sign up for email alerts


Defense Secretary Jim Mattis announced that the president has made the following nominations:


TRICARE is hosting a webinar on Nov. 20, 2017, from 1 to 2 p.m. to help its beneficiaries understand and adapt to the upcoming changes to TRICARE. 

In this webinar, presenters will discuss key changes to the TRICARE benefit, including:

Reducing Three TRICARE Regions to Two: The current three TRICARE regions in the U.S. (North, South and West) will become two regions (East and West) on Jan. 1, 2018. The North and South regions will combine to form the

Moving to TRICARE Select: On Jan. 1, 2018, TRICARE Select will replace TRICARE Standard and TRICARE Extra, both stateside and overseas.

Enrollment Changes: Enrollments will shift from fiscal year October 1 - September 30 (October – September) to calendar year (January – December).. 

Updated Costs: Starting on Jan. 1, 2018, beneficiaries will fall into one of two groups based on when you or your sponsor first joined the military. Each group will have different enrollment fees and out-of-pocket costs. 

To register for the webinar, please visit https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/1395141003944419074

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