Advertisement

You will be redirected to the page you want to view in  seconds.

DoD to close domestic Tricare Service Centers

Nov. 14, 2013 - 06:00AM   |  
  • Filed Under

The Defense Department will close its 189 walk-in Tricare Service Centers in the U.S., a money-saving move that is part of the reorganization of the military medical system under the Defense Health Agency.

Tricare officials said Nov. 14 that the walk-in centers, which provide beneficiaries with face-to-face assistance on claims paperwork, enrollment changes, processing and more, were inefficient and underutilized.

After a year-long review, military health system leaders concluded that customers could be better served with a toll-free Tricare telephone customer service center or online.

“We were making beneficiaries come to us rather than bringing customer service to them. We are now re-engineering how we deliver service, and removing any requirement for beneficiaries to ‘walk in’ at limited, prescribed hours of the day to get their questions answered or problems solved,” Tricare spokesman Austin Camacho said.

Many centers are located within military hospitals and clinics, but some are in freestanding buildings on military installations or in the nearby civilian community. They often are staffed with one or two individuals.

According to data provided by Tricare, utilization rates at service centers have varied from eight to 3,000 customers per month. The cost of running a center ranges from $30 to $216 per walk-in customer.

“We saw that many Tricare Service Centers were seeing small numbers of walk-in customers each day. It didn't make sense to continue this approach from a customer service perspective or from a cost perspective,” Camacho said.

Closing the centers will save a projected $250 million over the next five years.

To accommodate additional customers, Tricare’s toll-free customer service call centers will be improved, to include adequate staff and technology upgrades, according to Camacho.

Tricare also will bolster its online capacity and provide mobile applications for “customer-friendly alternatives,“ he said.

Overseas Tricare Service Centers will not be affected.

The changeover is likely to begin in spring 2014 but Tricare is still “refining” its plan, Camacho said.

More In Pay & Benefits

Start your day with a roundup of top defense news.

VA Home Loan
Rates

Search By:

Product Options:
Zip Code:

News for your in-box

Sign up now for free Military Times E-Reports. Choose from Money and Education. Subscribers: log in for premium e-newsletters.


This Week's Air Force Times

This Week's Air Force Times

Top TA & GI Bill schools
Most popular colleges cater to troops by taking classes to them

Subscribe for Print or Digital delivery today!

Classifieds
MilitaryTimes Green Trusted Classifieds Looking to buy, sell and connect on Military Times?
Browse expanded listings across hundreds of military installations.
Faces of valorHonoring those who fought and died in Operations Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom.
hall of valorThe Hall of Valor is a searchable database of valor award citations collected by Doug Sterner, a Vietnam veteran and Military Times contributing editor, and by Military Times staff.
Woman who cried rape
(3 replies)
   Last Post: TJMAC77SP
        May 3, 2014 1:32 PM
   Last Post: garhkal
        May 1, 2014 5:03 PM
Cliven Bundy
(45 replies)
   Last Post: Chief_KO
        Apr 26, 2014 9:49 AM
Handbooks

All you need to know about your military benefits.

Benefits handbook

Guard & Reserve All you need to know about the Guard & Reserve.

guard and reserve handbook