Military families who are enrolled in the Tricare premium plans for young adults, reservists and retired reservists, and separating service members will once again see hikes in their premiums, starting Jan. 1.
For 2024, the largest monthly cost increase will be 11.8% for those in Tricare Young Adult Prime, at $637, compared to the current $570 a month. These increases have been the trend for years, especially in 2021, when the rates for Tricare Young Adult Prime increased by 22%. The Tricare Young Adult Prime and Select plans are available for purchase by qualified former dependent children up to age 26.
“I’m especially stunned by the hike in Tricare Young Adult Prime premiums,” said Eileen Huck, government relations senior deputy director of the National Military Family Association.
The new rates were published by Tricare Aug.31.
In addition to Tricare Young Adult, the premium plans include Tricare Reserve Select, for qualified Selected Reserve members, family members and qualified survivors; Tricare Retired Reserve, available for purchase by qualified retired reserve members, family members and qualified survivors; and the Continued Health Care Benefit Program, for those separating from the military before retirement, and family members.
The Tricare Young Adult programs must be at no cost to the government, under the rules set by Congress when it was implemented in 2013. So, the full cost of the program’s premiums is reflected in the fees charged to families. Defense officials look at the health care expenditures for the program for the previous year and calculate the costs.
Other rate changes:
♦ Tricare Young Adult Select: The monthly premium increases to $311 for TYA Select plans on Jan. 1, a 6.9% increase from the $291 in 2023. According to the latest Tricare figures, there were over 39,500 young adults enrolled in Tricare Young Adult, both Select and Prime, in fiscal 2021. Enrollment in the TYA Select option accounted for 84 percent of total TYA enrollment.
♦ Tricare Reserve Select: The monthly premiums increase by 7.2% for both individual service member coverage and family coverage. It increases to $51.95 for the individual, from the $48.47 in 2023. For the family option, the premium is $256.87, up from $239.69 in 2023. According to the latest Tricare figures, there were 326,867 people covered under Tricare Reserve Select in fiscal 2021.
♦ Tricare Retired Reserve: The premiums increase by 6.5% for both individual and family coverage. For individuals, it increases to $585.24, up from the $549.35 in 2023. For the Tricare Retired Reserve family, it’s $1,406.22 starting in 2024, up from the $1,320.76 in 2023. There were 11,519 people covered in Tricare Retired Reserve in fiscal 2021.
♦ Continued Health Care Benefit Program: Transitioning service members will pay quarterly premiums of $1,813, a 9.6% increase from the $1,654 premium in 2023. Family coverage under this program has increased to $4,539 per quarter, a 9.8% increase over the $4,134 quarterly premium in 2023.
The CHCBP program is designed to act as a bridge between the military health benefits and a new civilian health plan. It buys temporary health coverage for 18 to 36 months when you lose eligibility for Tricare, if you leave the military before qualifying for retirement benefits.
Karen has covered military families, quality of life and consumer issues for Military Times for more than 30 years, and is co-author of a chapter on media coverage of military families in the book "A Battle Plan for Supporting Military Families." She previously worked for newspapers in Guam, Norfolk, Jacksonville, Fla., and Athens, Ga.