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What’s New With Your TRICARE Coverage in 2019

By Katie Lange
Department of Defense

We’ve been telling you about the health care plans you have to choose from during this TRICARE open season and how you go about enrolling (if you missed these blogs, check the links at the bottom of this one).

There are also some parts of TRICARE that have expanded this year, and we thought you should know about them.

TRICARE Open Season

TRICARE is establishing an open enrollment season. Watch this video to learn more about what this means for your TRICARE benefit.

Posted by TRICARE on Tuesday, September 18, 2018


Mental and behavioral health care is expanding.

“We’re making sure that we’re covering the kind of care that our patients need for substance use disorders, and making sure they have the right kind of therapy – inpatient or outpatient,” said Vice Adm. Raquel Bono, director of the Defense Health Agency.

TRICARE is also starting to cover dual diagnoses.

“What that means is if you have a substance use disorder diagnosis, as well as a behavioral health disorder, then we’re able now to cover that,” Bono said. “Those are conditions that we want to make sure that our patients get the most modern and relevant treatment possible.”

Flu shots are more widely available.

Preventative care is also important, including when it comes to flu season. Flu shots are now covered under TRICARE from any participating pharmacy or TRICARE provider.

There are a few changes to TRICARE Pharmacy.

The Defense Health Agency knows that getting needed medications at the lowest possible cost is extremely important.

“In order to offset the cost of medications that we get from the pharmacies, which tend to be a little bit more expensive, we’ve raised the copay,” Bono explained. “But we’re also trying to make it as easy as possible for our patients to get their medications from either a military treatment facility or from the mail-order pharmacy.”

Click on the image to enlarge it.


Prescription copays increased on Feb. 1, but don’t worry – they only went up by a few dollars. Find out what your plan costs here.

MHS GENESIS Patient Portal

The Military Health System is also rolling out a new electronic record management system called MHS GENESIS. Its patient portal is a secure website where you can access all of your health information, manage appointments and communicate securely with your care team.

“It’s extremely easy to navigate,” Bono said. “I think people will really like how they can interface with their doctors.”

The system is one that other large health care organizations use.

“It’s something widely used in the industry, and it has an excellent track record,” Bono said. “It’s a nice interactive site for them to get in and see what the doctors have ordered, or even the notes from previous appointments.”

She said it’s great for providers, too.

“All of the doctors and nurses and techs and pharmacists – they’ll be using the system,” Bono said. “We’ll also be able to import the information of your episodes of care for whenever you see a civilian provider.”

The website is being rolled out across the country with the deployment of MHS GENESIS. A few hospitals in the Pacific Northwest are the first few to get it so far. Officials are hoping they’ll be able to use the system for other things in the future, such as referrals.

“We’re actually field testing a referral management system with our new MHS GENESIS,” Bono said. “We would like to make that more streamlined so the patient isn’t the one going back and forth.”

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Editor’s note: This blog was originally published Oct. 15, 2018, on DoD Live.

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