Get Ready for PCS Season with TRICARE
Falls Church, VA, July 20, 2021 - Are you moving away this summer? If so, you aren’t alone. Summer is a time of transition for military families with permanent change of station (PCS) orders, which means adjusting to new surroundings and new people. Whether you’re moving to another state or relocating overseas, there are important steps you need to take to ensure a smooth PCS move. One of them is making sure you have TRICARE coverage in your new location.
“Moving is one of many Qualifying Life Events that allows enrollment changes outside of TRICARE Open Season,” said Elan Green, acting chief of the Policy and Programs Section of the TRICARE Health Plan at the Defense Health Agency. “If you have PCS orders, you and your family will have 90 days from the date of your address change to make eligible enrollment changes to your TRICARE plan.”
Here are some tips from TRICARE to help you prepare for your PCS change.
Don’t disenroll from your current plan before you move
Your TRICARE contractor can’t complete your enrollment transfer until you arrive at your new location. So, it’s important that you don’t disenroll from your plan before you move. This ensures you’re covered for any care you need while traveling to your destination. If you disenroll before you move, you’ll only be able to get care at a military hospital or clinic if space is available.
Does your family have TRICARE Dental Program (TDP) coverage? If so, make sure you or your family members notify the TDP contractor, United Concordia Companies, Inc., of your new address and contact information. The TDP is available worldwide, which means your family’s dental coverage travels with them. Whether you’re moving stateside or overseas, you can visit the TDP website to find a dentist near you.
Let the TRICARE contractor in your new location know that you moved
Once you’ve arrived at your new location, contact the TRICARE contractor for the region you’re in. They’ll coordinate with your previous contractor, if necessary, to transfer your coverage to your new location and help you get the care you need. You may have the same TRICARE contractor in your new location and they’ll help set up your coverage. For example, if you’re enrolled in TRICARE Prime and moving stateside to another Prime Service Area, your TRICARE contractor will initiate the transfer of your TRICARE Prime coverage to your new location. Or, you may be eligible to enroll in TRICARE Select. If you’re an active duty service member, you must enroll in either TRICARE Prime or TRICARE Prime Remote.
Are you moving overseas? If so, call your TRICARE Overseas Program (TOP) Regional Call Center assigned to your new location. Only command-sponsored active duty family members can enroll in TOP Prime or TOP Prime Remote. Retirees and their family members are eligible for TOP Select. Check out the TRICARE Plans Overview and TRICARE Plan Finder to learn more about your health plan options.
Keep in mind, your TRICARE contractor won’t change if you’re moving within the same region. But you may need to find another primary care manager (PCM) or health care provider in your new location.
Update your DEERS records
Your records must be up-to-date in the Defense Enrollment Eligibility Reporting System (DEERS) to use TRICARE. As outlined in the TRICARE Qualifying Life Events Fact Sheet, you’ll need to update DEERS with your new address and contact information whenever you experience a QLE, such as moving. If you start with a temporary address at your new location, you must go back and update DEERS once you have your permanent address. Any changes you make to your health plan will go into effect after your address change shows in DEERS. Remember, DEERS doesn’t transfer your TRICARE enrollment.
Don’t forget to plan ahead
Last but not least, make sure you take care of your medical needs before you travel:
Fill your prescriptions. Make sure you have enough medication to last throughout your move.
Talk to your doctor. Discuss ongoing health issues with your current PCM, family doctor, or specialist.
Request copies of your medical and dental records. In preparation for your move, you may need to ask for copies of medical and dental records from any civilian providers, if applicable. These records will give your new PCM, family doctor, or military hospital or clinic background on your health and helps them provide you with the appropriate level of care. Keep in mind, if you’re enrolled to a military hospital or clinic, your electronic medical records will transfer to your new duty station. Visit Permanent Change of Station or talk to your TRICARE contractor for more on requesting and transferring records.
This moving season, make sure your TRICARE coverage is set. Doing so can help ensure a smooth PCS move for you and your family. Visit the TRICARE Moving page to find more tips and learn how TRICARE coverage moves with you.