Transitional health care hinges on updating records

  • Published
Demobilizing reservists who wish to receive transitional health-care benefits need to update their records and obtain transitional medical care cards for their family members when they outprocess.

Reservists called to active duty for more than 30 days to support a contingency operation are eligible for transitional health-care benefits, which are base on the reservist's total active military service.

Reservists who have less than six years service are eligible for 60 days of medical coverage under the TRICARE Transitional Health Care Demonstration Project, which provides the same level of transitional health-care benefits to family members. Reservists with more than six years get 120 days of coverage for themselves and their families.

To ensure continued coverage, reservists need to update their Defense Enrollment Eligibility Reporting System records and receive the appropriate medical care cards for their families when they outprocess through their military personnel flight's customer service office. The reservists and their family members may use their reserve ID cards to receive care in military medical treatment facilities because their eligibility will be reflected in DEERS, according to officials in the Headquarters Air Force Reserve Command's directorate of health services here.

People who were enrolled in TRICARE Prime during the active-duty period will automatically be disenrolled when they are released from active duty.

Therefore, AFRC officials urge demobilizing reservists to re-enroll in TRICARE Prime as soon as possible before the 20th of the month to avoid a long break in medical coverage. If they are unable to re-enroll before the 20th of the month, they should contact Defense Manpower Data Center to ensure no interruptions of coverage.

The DMDC Support Office takes toll-free calls at (800) 538-9552 Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. EST.

Families who were not enrolled in TRICARE Prime during the active-duty period are eligible to enroll upon demobilization.

People enrolling or re-enrolling in TRICARE Prime must do so in the TRICARE region where they live. Information about offices in a region is available by dialing (888) 363-2273 (DOD-CARE) Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 7 p.m., and Saturday, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. EST, or by logging on the TRICARE Web site.

No enrollment/re-enrollment is needed for TRICARE Standard or TRICARE Extra.

"If reservists are denied a medical claim because they have been improperly coded as ineligible in DEERS, they need to contact the Defense Manpower Data Center Support Office before resubmitting further health-care claims," said Maj. Alexander Alex, associate administrator for AFRC Health Service Management.

"They must provide DMDC with a copy of their active-duty orders and their Defense Department Form 214 (Certificate of Release or Discharge from Active Duty) to verify eligibility and recoding in DEERS," said Alex. "Once eligibility is established, health-care claims may be resubmitted."

Reservists and their families are entitled to transitional dental care only on a space-available basis at military dental treatment facilities. This service may be limited, so command officials suggest looking into the TRICARE Dental Program, which is available to reservists and their family members if the reservist has at least a 12-month service commitment remaining.

United Concordia manages the dental program for the Department of Defense. People may enroll or obtain billing information by dialing (888) 622-2256, or inquire about claims at (800) 866-8499 Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. EST. (Courtesy of AFRC News Service)