Cost cuts are forcing drastic actions across the government. The latest to be felt by military families is a big one for EFMP (Exceptional Family Member Program) families. Starting March 31, 2014, all stateside walk-in TRICARE Service Centers (TSCs) will no longer offer walk-in customer service. Overseas TSCs will remain open due to the unique nature of overseas beneficiaries’’ needs.
What is a TSC?
TRICARE Service Center- There are 189 stateside ran by 3 regional contractors (Humana, UnitedHealthCare and HealthNet). The contractors will continue to manage customer service by Internet, phone, etc.
What does a TSC do?
- Administrative matters
- PCM changes
Why Close the TSCs?
The main reason causing the closings is seemingly the Internet. The ability to cheaply reach beneficiaries versus the high cost of maintaining the TSCs (which have provided customer service since the 1990’s) seems to be the main determining factor.
Most beneficiaries use the Internet or telephone rather than walking in due to convenience. The dwindling number of walk-ins makes the TSCs no longer cost effective.
How much does the TSCs cost?
The DOD estimates $51 million per year
How much will closing TSCs save?
The DOD estimates $254 million over 5 years
How to manage your TRICARE services without the TSCs:
- Telephone Contacts for TSCs : www.tricare.mil/ContactUs/CallUs.aspx.
- TRICARE website:
- Enroll in or purchase a plan
- File a check or claim
- View referrals and prior authorizations
- Find a doctor
- Change primary care managers
- See what services and procedures are covered by their health plans
- Compare plans
- Manage prescriptions
There are many options to managing your families TRICARE services after the TSCs close on March 31st. Research the contacts for your local area and check in with your EFMP office as well to see if any changes will be seen with their program or contacts.