Service Centers to 'Go Virtual' April 1
From a TRICARE News Release
FALLS CHURCH, Va., Mar. 24, 2014 - Walk-in service at TRICARE service
centers in the United States is ending April 1.
TRICARE officials said the change reflects "the always growing number
of TRICARE beneficiaries who most often now turn to a laptop or cell phone
when they have questions about their health care."
TRICARE patients have a wide variety of secure, electronic customer
service options available through the TRICARE website at http://www.tricare.mil, officials said. The
"I want to ..." feature puts everything beneficiaries want to do
online right on the website's front page, they added.
"For many years now, TRICARE beneficiaries have been taking advantage
of our convenient, 24/7 online customer service options," said Army Maj.
Gen. (Dr.) Richard Thomas, director of the Defense Health Agency's health
care operations directorate. "All of the services they received at their
local [TRICARE service center] are available either online or through our
toll-free call centers in the convenience of their own homes. We are
committed to providing the highest level of support to all of our beneficiaries."
With the end of walk-in service on April 1, beneficiaries who want get
personal assistance can call their regional health care contractor for
enrollment and benefit help, officials said. All health care, pharmacy,
dental and claims contact information is located at http://www.tricare.mil/contactus.
Beneficiaries can get 24/7 TRICARE benefit information at the TRICARE
website, and they can make enrollment, primary care manager and other changes
Rather than driving to an installation service center, TRICARE
beneficiaries can even combine high-tech with low-tech by downloading health
care forms online and sending them through the mail, officials noted.
Pointing out that walk-in service is the most expensive customer-service
option, officials said eliminating walk-in service at the centers will save
the Defense Department an estimated $250 million over five years. The change
does not affect TRICARE benefits or health care delivery, they emphasized.