Trying to decide between TRICARE Prime vs Select? This is a question a lot of military families face. In fact, there was a lot of discussion last winter during the Tricare Open Season concerning the differences of each program. Here’s the breakdown.
“TRICARE Open Season is the annual period when you can enroll in or change your TRICARE Prime or TRICARE Select plan. It occurs each fall, beginning on the Monday of the second full week in November to the Monday of the second full week in December. If you miss open season, you’ll only be able to make enrollment changes within 90 days of a Qualifying Life Event or during the next TRICARE Open Season. If you don’t want to change your plan, you don’t need to do anything during TRICARE Open Season.”
Active duty service members must enroll in TRICARE Prime. Active duty family members may choose to enroll in TRICARE Prime or TRICARE Select.
There are a few TRICARE Prime plans available:
TRICARE Prime is a managed care option, similar to a health maintenance organization program, which offers affordable and comprehensive health care coverage. You will be assigned a provider who is your primary care manager (PCM). Your PCM will:
TRICARE Prime Pros:
TRICARE Prime Cons:
TRICARE Select is a self-managed, preferred provider option. You manage your own health care without a PCM and choose which TRICARE-authorized providers you see. You don’t need referrals, but your regional contractor must authorize some services. Network providers will file claims for you. You may have to file your own claims if you get non-network care. For help with filing claims, visit the Filing Claims page.
You may enroll in TRICARE Select anywhere in the U.S. if you aren’t an active duty service member. If you live overseas, you may enroll in TRICARE Overseas Program Select.
TRICARE Select Pros:
TRICARE Select Cons:
When you use TRICARE Select, you can expect to pay: