Bread Crumbs


Upcoming Changes to TRICARE

The Military Health System (MHS) is modernizing to better serve you and respond to changes in law and policy. These modernization efforts will:

  • Affect what plans are available
  • Reduce TRICARE regions from 3 to 2
  • Affect which regional contractor will administer your benefit
  • Increase access to TRICARE networks
  • Implement new medical health record technology 

Over the coming months and years, you will see some significant changes to TRICARE. Here is what you can expect:

  • Two plans will be updated or created: TRICARE Prime and TRICARE Select.
  • TRICARE For Life (Medicare Wrap Around Coverage) will NOT change.
  • TRICARE North and TRICARE South regions will combine to form TRICARE East, while TRICARE West will remain mostly unchanged.
  • New contractors will administer these two regions.
  • Better integration between military hospitals and clinics and the network of civilian health care providers.

More information about each of these changes is below.

Introducing TRICARE Select

TRICARE Select is a self-managed, preferred provider network option under the TRICARE Program.  Enrollment is required and some beneficiaries pay annual enrollment fees. You will not have a primary care manager and can choose to see any TRICARE authorized provider for services covered by TRICARE without a referral. You will generally pay higher copays or cost shares than you would under TRICARE Prime. TRICARE Select replaces TRICARE Standard and Extra beginning January 1, 2018 and adopts a number of improvements, including additional preventive care services previously only offered to TRICARE Prime enrollees when furnished by a network provider. If you use a TRICARE network provider, you will pay less than you would with a non-network provider.

Most beneficiaries using TRICARE Standard and Extra on December 31, 2017, will be automatically enrolled in TRICARE Select on January 1, 2018, and will remain in Select unless they choose to change coverage or lose eligibility.

Features for TRICARE Prime

TRICARE Prime is a managed care, Health Maintenance Organization-style option available in Prime Service AreasGeographic areas in the U.S. where we offer TRICARE Prime. They ensure medical readiness of active duty by adding to the capability and capacity of military hospitals and clinics. Prime Service Areas were also built around the Base Realignment and Closure sites.. Enrollment is required.  Beneficiaries are assigned either a civilian network provider or military treatment provider to serve as the primary care manager (PCM). Your PCM provides most of your care and will refer you to specialists at a military facility or civilian network providers when you need specialty care.  Active Duty and their family members pay no copay or cost share when seen by a network provider.  All others pay annual enrollment fees and network copays.

On January 1, 2018, if you are currently enrolled in TRICARE Prime, you will remain in Prime unless you choose to change your coverage or you lose TRICARE eligibility

Features for Both Plans

  • Annual enrollment will change from fiscal yearOctober 1 - September 30 to calendar year (expect to see more information this year).
  • If you choose to switch between Prime and Select, you must do so during an open enrollment period or within 90 days of a major life event like marriage, divorce, child birth, moving, and others.

We will provide more details as they become available.

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What Can You Do Now to Prepare For the Changes?

To prepare for the changes now, you should:

Sign up for email alerts about the changes. You will get an email anytime we update this page. 

New TRICARE Regions

Currently, there are three TRICARE regions in the U.S. - North, South and West.

Starting January 1, 2018, these will consolidate into two U.S. regions. While the West RegionAlaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Iowa (excludes Rock Island arsenal area), Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri (except St. Louis area), Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oregon, South Dakota, Texas (southwestern corner including El Paso), Utah, Washington and Wyoming. will remain unchanged, the North and South Regions will combine to form TRICARE East. 

These will consolidate into two U.S. regions. While the West Region will remain unchanged, the North and South Regions will combine to form TRICARE East.

TRICARE Region map depicting changes from 3 to 2



Includes Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Iowa (excluding the Rock Island Arsenal area), Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri (excluding the St. Louis area), Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oregon, South Dakota, Texas (the southwestern corner only, including El Paso), Utah, Washington and Wyoming

Includes Alabama, Arkansas, Connecticut, Delaware, the District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa (Rock Island Arsenal area only), Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri (St. Louis area only), New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas (excluding the El Paso area), Vermont, Virginia, West Virginia and Wisconsin

New TRICARE Regional Contractors

Starting January 1, 2018, there will be new regional contractors for the East and West Regions. Each region is administered by a contractor to provide you with health care. 

Your regional contractor is your main resource for customer service, claims processing, and prior authorization for certain health care services. We have added improvements in the delivery, quality, and cost of your health care from previous contracts. 

Region New Regional Contractor 
East Humana Military
West Health Net Federal Services 

What Does This Mean For Me?

Most of these changes will be behind the scenes. But, you may experience some changes:

  • Your network providers may change
  • You may get a new primary care manager if you have TRICARE Prime
  • More support between regions -- especially when you move
  • Improvements if you’re a family with special needs

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Improved Communication Between Your Military and Civilian Providers

TRICARE brings together military hospitals and clinics with a network of civilian health care providers.  Together, we offer you medical plans, dental programs, and a pharmacy benefit. To enhance your experience, we are also improving integration between military and civilian providers.

Change Result for You

Process Referrals Electronically

  • Easier and quicker referral process
  • Get your specialty care quicker
  • Less paperwork

Share More Data Across MHS

  • Improving your access to care 
  • Improving health care coordination
  • More access to health records
  • Real time access to data on medical management and utilization

Increasing Use of Analytics and
Standardized Metrics

  • Fewer gaps in care
  • Improved clinical quality
  • Improved patient safety
  • Compares military and civilian hospitals and clinics

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Last Updated 8/4/2017

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