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TRICARE Prime Fees Going Up Oct. 1st

If you’re a TRICARE Prime enrollee currently paying an enrollment fee, tighten your belt. Your fees are going up across the board, starting October 1, 2012.

This doesn’t affect Active Duty members or family members or transitional survivors, who don’t pay enrollment fees. It also won’t affect the medically retired, their dependents, and enrollees under 65 who qualify for Medicare benefits because of specific medical conditions like end-stage renal failure, multiple sclerosis or Lou Gehrig’s Disease. But it will affect most other enrollees, including reserve component TRICARE Prime enrollees, retired enrollees and their families.

The National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for fiscal year (FY) 2012 allows for the annual increase of TRICARE Prime enrollment fees for most retired beneficiaries based on the annual cost of living adjustment. Exceptions to annual increases are for survivors of active duty deceased sponsors and medically-retired service members and their dependents (see "Annual Increases" below for more information).

Here’s what you can expect:

The new rates are $269.28 per year for individuals, and $538.56 per year for families.

That’s sharply up from current rates for those of you who’ve been on the plan a while. If you signed up prior to October 1, 2011, you are currently paying $230 for an individual plan, and $460 for a family plan, respectively. If you signed up after October 1, 2011, you are currently paying $260 per year for an individual plan and $520 for an individual.

If you signed up prior to October 1, 2001, individual enrollment fees will increase from $230 per year to $269.28 per year. If you have a family plan, your annual outlay will increase from $460 to $538 per year.

You can pay annually, quarterly or monthly. We recommend monthly. Unlike many kinds of insurance coverage, TRICARE doesn’t give you a discount for paying in advance: The monthly payment is equal to 1/12th of the annual fee. There’s no advantage in sending Uncle Sam any money before you have to, and annual payments to TRICARE are non-refundable.

For 2012, your monthly payment for TRICARE Prime will be $22.44 for an individual, and $44.88 for a family plan.

The catch: Unless you live in the Western region, you must pay vie electronic transfer. You must also pay a quarterly premium of $67.32 for an individual or $134.64 for a family plan when you turn in your enrollment form, because it takes the government 90 days to set up an electronic transfer.

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