Don’t let some important dates affecting your military health care slip by in the midst of the busy holiday season.

Dec. 13: Tricare open season ends. It applies to anyone enrolled in or eligible for a Tricare Prime option or Tricare Select.

This is the only time of year when you can make changes to — or enroll in — Tricare Prime or Tricare Select, outside of a qualifying life event such as marriage, birth of a baby, or retirement from active duty. You can also switch plans entirely. Changes you make go into effect Jan. 1, 2022. Visit

Dec. 13: Federal Employees Dental and Vision Insurance Program open season also ends Dec. 13. Most military retirees and their family members are eligible for dental and vision coverage under FEDVIP, which is administered by the Office of Personnel Management.

Active duty family members, reservists and their family members are among those eligible specifically for the vision coverage under FEDVIP. Visit

Dec. 15: The more than 5,300 Walmart and Sam’s Club pharmacies will leave the Tricare network as of Dec. 15. There are more than 59,000 pharmacies in the Tricare retail pharmacy network. CVS pharmacies return to the Tricare network on Dec. 15, after a five-year hiatus. There are nearly 10,000 CVS pharmacy locations, including many inside Target stores.

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.

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