Tricare to stop mailing paper notification letters

By Patricia Kime 
Staff writer

Starting this month, Tricare will stop mailing letters to patients notifying them of changes to their health coverage or eligibility for military health programs.

Instead, the Defense Department will send postcards to patients informing them that there is a change, and then they will have to log into a Pentagon website, milConnect, or call their Tricare regional contractor to find out the details.

However, if the Pentagon has an email address on file for the beneficiary, he or she will receive an email instead of a postcard notifying them to log into milConnect.

Tricare is encouraging beneficiaries to make sure they have a current email address in the Defense Enrollment Eligibility Reporting System to ensure they receive timely electronic notifications of changes to their health benefits.

Those with a Common Access Card or DFAS pin number can log directly onto milConnect; spouses and dependents ages 18 and over who want to log on must first obtain a DoD Self-Service Logon, or DS Logon, to access the site.

They can get a DS Logon by going to and clicking the “Sign Up Now” button.

On milConnect, all users can verify their personal information — name, address and email address — as well as check information on medical, dental and pharmacy benefits, education, identification cards and more.

The change is part of the Defense Manpower Data Center’s “Going Green” initiative and is projected to save about $2 million a year, Defense Health Agency spokesman Kevin Dwyer said.

The savings are “expected to grow as more beneficiaries provide email addresses, more correspondence types change to email/postcard, and beneficiaries get acclimated to checking applicable websites for benefits change,” Dwyer added.

DMDC has about 3.5 million email addresses on file for service members, retirees and family members, the Pentagon says.

Tricare serves 9.6 million beneficiaries, although that includes nearly 2 million older retirees on Tricare For Life, who primarily use Medicare and thus don’t receive much correspondence from Tricare on their health programs.

The new policy affects notifications regarding changes to primary care managers, Tricare programs, eligibility and member status, according to Tricare.

Tricare officials stressed that if beneficiaries do not have access to a computer, they will still receive a postcard telling them to call their regional Tricare contract manager for details of any changes.

It’s important, however, to “sign up or update your email contact information,” they added.

“Once you sign up, you’ll receive up-to-date benefit information,” according to a Tricare release.

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