Medals & Misfires

MISFIRE: Health care officials have to get Tricare transition right

Tricare is undergoing huge changes right now. It’s transitioning from three regions to two, and Tricare Standard and Tricare Extra will merge into one plan, Tricare Select, all by Jan. 1.

In the face of so much disruption, it is absolutely crucial that military health officials, and the companies that provide services to millions of military beneficiaries, get things right. Unfortunately, that hasn’t been the case.

Humana Military, the contractor that will administer the new Tricare East region, acknowledges it “mistakenly” sent a letter Nov. 28 to military retirees demanding bank account or credit card information and threatened an “interruption” in benefits if they did not provide it.

But these retirees already pay for their benefit by having the Defense Finance and Accounting Service take payments directly from their retirement checks.

A Humana spokesman apologized and said the mistake is being corrected.

Such incidents cause unnecessary heartburn, but they also damage beneficiaries’ trust in institutions that have important financial information and provide critical services. They cannot reoccur.

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