The civilian health care system isn’t the only one facing majorchanges under the Trump administration, whether by legislation orneglect.

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The military will be looking at some pretty bigchanges too.

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Federal News Radio reports that the Defense Department has issuednew rules making significant changes to the health insurance systemthat serves military family members and retirees on Jan. 1.

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Related: New financial 'field manual' created formilitary families

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The rules alter the structure and fees of benefit plans that,according to Defense Department health officials, will make caremore accessible.

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Possibly one of the biggest changes is open enrollment.Currently, TRICARE-eligible beneficiaries receive health benefitsautomatically, but that won’t be the case any longer.

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Instead, with a few exceptions, family members and retirees whodon’t sign up during the open enrollment period will lose coveragein TRICARE’s “purchased care” market for the following year.

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While they would still be able to seek care in military-runhospitals and clinics, that would be only on a space-availablebasis.

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Under the new rules, new beneficiaries will have to activelyenroll in the TRICARE system and will only be able to do so duringan annual open enrollment period—the schedule for that will be thesame as the one used by the Federal Employee Health BenefitsProgram that serves civilian DoD employees: November and Decemberof each year.

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Congress ordered the change, among others, as part of the 2017Defense authorization bill.

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Officials did say the open enrollment change will not reallyaffect beneficiaries for another year. Instead, 2018 will betreated as a “transition year,” and anyone who’s covered by TRICAREas of January 1, 2018 will be automatically enrolled in the planthat most closely matches the one that serves them today.

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Theplans are changing too, also as of January 1. Congress hasdirected DoD to merge the existing TRICARE Standard and Extrabenefits, which are the department’s fee-for-service options, intoa single plan called TRICARE Select.

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Like Standard and Extra, Select will allow patients to use anyauthorized medical provider, but cost shares are lower forin-network providers.

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According to the report, while cost shares are currently arebased on a percentage of TRICARE’s negotiated costs with a networkprovider (or of that provider’s “allowable costs” if they’reout-of-network), as of next year, patients will pay a fixed,per-visit rate for in-network providers that varies according tothe type of medical care they’re receiving.

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Family members of active-duty personnel will pay less thanTRICARE-covered retirees.

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Other changes are also scheduled to take effect, but somerequire further study before actual implementation.

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