Are you a member of the Selected Reserve of the United States military service? If so, then you and your family may be eligible for Tricare Reserve Select (TRS). But what’s Tricare Reserve Select? What are the eligibility requirements for select members? Keep reading on below to find answers to these questions and many more.

What’s Tricare Reserve Select?

Tricare Reserve Select is a universally available premium-based health insurance plan offered to Selected Reserve members and their families/dependents who meet certain eligibility criteria.

It is one of the many important yet overlooked health care benefits available to certain members of the U.S. military who are not in active service.

What are the Requirements to Qualify to Use this Health Care Plan?

In order to be eligible for the Tricare Reserve Select plan, you have to meet the criteria highlighted below:

  • You MUST not be on active duty status.
  • You MUST not be enrolled in the Transitional Assistance Management Program (TAMP).
  • You MUST not be a beneficiary of the Federal Employee Health Benefits (FEHB) program, be it directly or via an eligible family member.

How Can You Enroll in TRS Program?

If you meet the above requirements for TRS eligibility, follow the three steps outlined below to participate in the TRS program.

1. Check and Update Your DEERS Information

The first thing to do is to ensure that all personal information entered in the Defense Enrollment Eligibility Reporting System (DEERS) is correct and up-to-date. If you want to enroll in the members plus family plan, make sure you also update the personal information for your family members who will also benefit from the health insurance coverage.

2. Go Online and Log on to the TRS Enrollment Web Page

The next step is to visit the TRS Beneficiary Web Enrollment (BWE) page and follow the instructions to register for the TRS program.

Make sure to have a DS Logon Premium (Level 2) account, a Common Access Card (CAC), or a Defense Finance Accounting Service (DFAS) account when logging in.

3. Purchase Coverage

Find the Purchase Coverage option and click on it. Complete the Reserve Component Health Coverage Request form and then print and sign it.

After that, you should send the form to the Tricare regional office via mail or fax and make the required initial payment.

Keep in mind that you must send your duly completed request form within the specified deadline.

If you encounter any problems when enrolling in the TRS program online, you can always contact the staff at Tricare for assistance.

Is Enrollment in the TRS Program Only Done Online?

No. Online enrollment is not the only method of enrollment in the TRS program. Qualified members can also participate in the program by phone, but this option is limited to those who are applying from selected regions within the U.S.

All overseas applications must be done online.

Does TRS Fulfill The Requirements For Minimum Essential Coverage?

The U.S. Affordable Care Act, popularly known as ObamaCare, is aimed at ensuring that every individual taxpayer maintains basic health care coverage for themselves and their families. This type of health care coverage is referred to as the “minimum essential coverage.”

You are said to have minimum essential coverage if your health care plan exempts you from facing any fees or penalties associated with non-compliance with ObamaCare.

If you fail to maintain minimum essential coverage, you may have to face fees or penalties for all months you go without the coverage.

This begs the question: does TRS fulfill the requirements for minimum essential coverage?

Yes, it does. As a matter of fact, TRS not only meets but also exceeds the requirements for minimum essential coverage.

What Does TRS Coverage Include?

If you opt for the TRS health plan, your coverage will include the following:

  • Preventative care, including immunizations, wellness exams, physical exams, and screenings
  • In-patient treatment and care
  • Out-patient visits
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    Emergency care
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    Laboratory and X-ray tests
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    Maternal and newborn care services
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    Prescription drugs
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    Mental health care
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    Hospice care
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    Provision of medical supplies, including prosthetics

Unless you are contemplating having additional health coverage, you don't need to take any action to avoid facing fees or penalties for each month you don’t have minimum essential coverage.

What Costs Are Involved?

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As a member of the Tricare Reserve Select program, you are required to pay:

  • A monthly premium based on the plan you have enrolled in (either a member-only plan or member plus family plan).
  • A once-a-year deductible.
  • A cost share for certain covered services.

When you initially enroll in the TRS program, you are allowed to pay premiums for the first two months using a money order, check, or debit/credit card. From then on, monthly premiums can be paid automatically via electronic funds transfer (EFT) or through a recurring payment by a debit/credit card.

Why Is It Important To Make Timely Payments Each Month?

As a member of the TRS program, it is important to pay your monthly premiums on time. If you delay or miss a payment, you may trigger negative actions, including being dropped from the program. In case you are dropped from the program, you will have to wait a full calendar year to be eligible to join the program again.

How Does the TRS Program Work?

To get treatment under the TRS health plan, you simply have to arrange for an appointment with any of Tricare’s duly authorized medical service providers. Tricare authorized providers can either be within or outside the TRS program’s network.

In-network providers are generally cheaper than out-of-network providers because they accept the negotiated rate as complete payment for services delivered. Plus, they will file health care claims on your behalf.

Non-network providers, on the other hand, are third-party providers that are authorized to provide medical services to TRS beneficiaries, but have not entered any contractual agreement to join the Tricare network of providers.

However, like all network providers, non-network providers must fulfill Tricare’s certification requirements before they can be allowed to attend to Tricare beneficiaries.

If you get treatment from a non-network provider, you will not only incur higher cost shares, but may also have to file your health care claims by yourself.

You don’t need referrals to access any covered medical service, but you may need to obtain authorization from your regional contractor beforehand to get certain types of services.

What if You Need Additional Coverage?

As expected, there are situations that may warrant the need for coverage beyond what is offered under the TRS program.

If you require additional coverage, you can always purchase it from the health care insurance marketplace as a stand-alone plan.

It is, however, your responsibility as a consumer of health care service to buy coverage that suits your particular needs.

If you need assistance choosing the best additional coverage available to you and your family, you can always contact the staff at Tricare to discuss your special needs.

Can You Disenroll From Your TRS Plan? 

Like many other soldiers, you may want to know if you can drop your TRS health insurance plan. Well, the answer to this query is: yes, you can.

There are two ways to end your TRS plan: voluntarily and involuntarily.

To voluntarily end your coverage, you need to follow this three-step procedure:

  • Log on to the Tricare BWE Application page and follow the guidelines to “Disenroll” from the plan.
  • Fill out the Reserve Component Health Coverage Request Form.
  • Print your completed form and send it to your regional contractor by mail.

Your TRS plan can also be ended due to non-payment of monthly premiums. However, you should keep in mind that you will still be required to clear any unsettled premium amounts.

What Happens When You Are Activated?

If you are activated while you are covered under the TRS health plan, your coverage automatically ends.

Both you and your dependents will qualify for premium-free Tricare health coverage. If you later lose eligibility for premium-free Tricare because of not having active duty orders, you may re-enroll in TRS so long you re-qualify.

Why Should You Consider Enrolling In The TRS Program?

If you qualify, you should consider joining the TRS plan because it offers a number of essential benefits, including the following:

  • It meets and exceeds the requirements for minimum essential coverage, hence it complies with the U.S. Affordable Care Act.
  • It is available to all qualified members throughout the world.
  • It covers a wide range of medical/health care services.
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    Offers the option to choose from member-only and member plus family plans.
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    Beneficiaries don’t need referrals to access any covered medical services.
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    Enrollment by eligible candidates can be conveniently done online from any part of the world.

Need More Answers?

For more information about the TRS health plan, feel free to contact the staff at Tricare. They will be delighted to answer your questions and clarify any issues or concerns you might have regarding TRS coverage.

For improved productivity in your military work, make your health a priority.

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