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Financial Planning

Transitions in Military Health Care, Records Access

2019-10-17

By Jonelle K. Brown, Marketing Coordinator, AAFMAA Wealth Management & Trust (AWM&T)

Editor’s Note: TRICARE Open Season begins on Nov. 11 and runs through Dec. 9. Outside of Open Season, beneficiaries can make changes should they experience a Qualifying Life Event or QLE. More information on QLEs is available at https://tricare.mil/LifeEvents/QLE

Since January 1, 2018, military members, their families, and retirees have been able to enroll in TRICARE Select, a self-managed, preferred provider network plan for healthcare that can include dental, vision, and pharmacy plans.

We recently spoke with the Defense Health Agency (DHA) about TRICARE Select and other changes to the Military Health System (MHS), including the upcoming consolidation of all US medical facility operations under DHA and MHS’s new electronic health care delivery and record system.

Here’s what they told us.

JB: What is meant by “comprehensive or integrated health benefit?” Why is that important?

DHA: The TRICARE benefit covers virtually all medically-accepted practices and treatments, while providing unique options. Those who choose TRICARE Select, for example, receive their care from the TRICARE-network providers they pick. Those who select TRICARE Prime will be assigned a primary care manager and may receive most of their care at a military hospital or clinic.

JB: Are more changes planned in 2019 or 2020 to coverage or eligibility?

DHA: While there are no substantive planned changes to the benefit or eligibility, TRICARE Open Season begins November 11. During that time, beneficiaries can enroll in a new TRICARE Prime or TRICARE Select plan; change their enrollment status (e.g., from individual to family); or sign up for dental or vision coverage. Beneficiaries must enroll in a plan during open season if they have not done so. If they do not, it will result in eligibility for care only at a military hospital or clinic if space is available.

JB: With DHA operating all military treatment facilities in the United States as of Oct. 1, 2019, what changes can members expect?

DHA: The transition should be transparent to beneficiaries. We do share updates with the public on sites such as Health.mil or you can sign up for email updates at www.health.mil/subscriptions. You can also connect with DHA on Facebook and Twitter.

JB: Can you explain rollout of MHA’s new electronic health record (EHR) system?

DHA: MHS GENESIS is the single, integrated medical and dental EHR. In 2017 MHS went live at four military medical facilities in Washington State, including Madigan Army Medical Center, Fairchild Air Force Base, Naval Hospital Oak Harbor, and Naval Hospital Bremerton.

Four more sites in California and Idaho went live on September 7, 2019: David Grant USAF Medical Center (Travis Air Force Base); Naval Health Clinic Lemoore (Naval Air Station Lemoore); U.S. Army Health Clinic Presidio (Monterey); and the 366th Medical Group at Mountain Home Air Force Base (Idaho).

Deployment activities for subsequent waves will kick off approximately every three months starting Spring 2020. The next three waves involve additional facilities in California, Nevada and Alaska. The system should be fully deployed across all military hospitals by the end of 2023.

JB: What advantages does MHS GENESIS offer?

DHA: MHS GENESIS will enable the application of standardized workflows, integrated health care delivery, and data standards for the improved and secure electronic exchange of medical and dental patient data across the continuum of care, from point of injury to the military treatment facility. The system will also allow patients to view their health information online, securely message providers, access test results, and request prescription refills.

Additionally, MHS GENESIS utilizes the same software under development by the Department of Veterans Affairs for that agency’s new electronic health record system, and will be interoperable by default. When fully deployed, information between the two health care systems will be passed securely, conveniently and easily, helping to ensure a warm handoff of service members into the VA system of care.

We’re Here to Help

Like health care, financial plans and options can seem complex. AWM&T can help you sort through your portfolio options to help you plan for a more secure financial future.

Our priority is to help ensure the financial security and independence of the American Armed Forces community by providing military investment management, military financial planning, and military trust services.

We understand that talking about military financial planning can be overwhelming. Whether you know exactly what you want, or need some more guidance, our Relationship Managers are here to help. Call 1-910-390-1047 or click here to request a complimentary Investment Portfolio review. There’s no cost or obligation.