TRICARE ends walk-in services

Story by Lance Cpl. Samuel Ranney

TRICARE, a health care program for uniformed service members, retirees and their families, will be having some upcoming changes, starting April 1, 2014.

“Walk-in service (in the U.S.) will no longer be available,” said Glynis Johnson, TRICARE benefit advisor at National Training Center Fort Irwin.

Walk-in services overseas will not be affected, she added.

Marine Corps Logistics Base Barstow’s TRICARE users can also seek guidance through Fort Irwin’s benefits advisors, Johnson explained.

However, Shirlene Griffis, beneficiary education representative, will be coming on MCLB Barstow every three months for group briefings for those who are new to TRICARE or who seek more information, said Griffis.

Griffis’ next visit to MCLB Barstow will be March 3, from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. She encourages service members and dependents to attend her TRICARE briefs for more information and updates.

The change will allow TRICARE to invest an estimated $250 million over the next 5 years to other, more important services, said Johnson. The change will not affect any benefits or health care services.

Many of the walk-ins are customer service related, Johnson added. With today’s communication possibilities, this type of service can easily be handled online or over the phone.

So, as of April 1, questions will be answered any time online, or by calling toll-free at 1-877-988-9378; as opposed to walking-in for questions during limited hours.

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