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Military retirees: USFHP vs Tricare?
Old 03-16-2014, 09:35 AM   #1
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Military retirees: USFHP vs Tricare?

DH and I are currently using Tricare Prime for retirees, but keep getting postcards in the mail for USFHP -- US Family Health Plan. It all sounds very good on paper, and we are considering jumping ship and signing up.

Our major concern is once we leave Tricare prime, we probably won't be able to get back in.

So, I'm seeking any input for those out there that may have experience with USFHP -- the good, the bad, the indifferent?

Thanks!
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Old 03-16-2014, 11:23 AM   #2
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I had USFHP for the past 8 years before switching to Tricare Prime 9 months ago. Have seen absolutely no difference at all. The policies are the same, just a different regional contractor from what I understand. This experience is for a couple in their 40's with 3 young children now entering their teens.
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Old 03-16-2014, 12:06 PM   #3
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You should still be able to re-enter Tricare Prime, as long as you're otherwise eligible. The thing you may not be able to do is to return to your previous primary care physician if they are not accepting new Tricare patients or they're at a MTF that is overburdened.

That's why we kept Tricare Prime even after I got good medical at my post-retirement employer: we finally got a MTF Family Practice relationship we liked, and we didn't want to change that. Getting the insurances to play nice isn't easy, but DW is good at that...
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Old 03-16-2014, 12:11 PM   #4
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This is from USFHP's website. I have no direct experience, but they make it sound like this plan is a part of Tricare. Before you make the move, I'd verify with Tricare whether you can return to Prime if you don't like USFHP.

"US Family Health Plan is one option of the Military Health System known as TRICARE. The US Family Health Plan program was selected by the Department of Defense to be a provider of TRICARE Prime. As a US Family Health Plan member you receive all the benefits offered by the TRICARE Prime program. The US Family Health Plan has served the health care needs of military beneficiaries since 1993. However, the US Family Health Plan providers began as US Public Health Service hospitals. The Department of Defense has contracted with the former US Public Health Service hospitals and their successors since 1982, and the current TRICARE Prime contracts under which the US Family Health Plan is now operated are a continuation of this long standing partnership relationship under which eligible beneficiaries receive healthcare."

I was thinking about signing up for Prime in a few more years when I'm eligible at 60. This gives me another option to look into.
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Old 03-16-2014, 12:24 PM   #5
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I was thinking about signing up for Prime in a few more years when I'm eligible at 60. This gives me another option to look into.
It looks like it is only available in the NYC area. But, maybe there are similar arrangements elsewhere under other names.
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Old 03-16-2014, 12:55 PM   #6
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Hmm...so I guess that's why I'd never heard of it! Never mind then...I'm not moving from Louisiana to New York just for the health insurance! When I retire, I'll be covered by my FEHB (federal employees health benefit) insurance, then in 3 1/2 yrs, I'll be eligible to suspend the FEHB & go to Tricare, if I want to. Since there are a lot of Drs. in this area who do accept Tricare, I'll probably at least give it a try, due to the lower costs.
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Old 03-16-2014, 11:30 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by Gabieta View Post
DH and I are currently using Tricare Prime for retirees, but keep getting postcards in the mail for USFHP -- US Family Health Plan. It all sounds very good on paper, and we are considering jumping ship and signing up.

Our major concern is once we leave Tricare prime, we probably won't be able to get back in.

So, I'm seeking any input for those out there that may have experience with USFHP -- the good, the bad, the indifferent?

Thanks!
As Nanosour says, it's all Tricare Prime. You're just being handled by a different contractor who somehow managed to squeeze in with the other regional contractors.

You'll never "leave" Tricare Prime, and you might not even change primary care managers. Talk to your PCM about making the switch and see what insight they can offer.

I don't see how USFHP could possibly be any worse than UnitedHealthcare or Humana.
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Old 03-17-2014, 06:03 PM   #8
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~Gabi,

We switched this past fall and have had no problems. I was a bit nervous at first having had no other insurance since Tricare/Champus since I enlisted years ago. Spouse and 3 kids on the plan. In my opinion, our MTF (Madigan) is way overburdened for retirees. Yes there are copays on visits, scripts, etc., but for us it's worth it. First time ever in my career/retirement we have had the same doc for the entire family.
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Old 03-18-2014, 07:40 AM   #9
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Thank you all for your input!! I think we will make the switch. It is good to hear from those of you with families that it worked for you. We are a family of 4 as well.

samclem and martyb -- A lot of regions are not covered by USFHP. Here is what they cover now. Looks like southwest LA is covered! :-)

Brighton Marine Health Center—serving Massachusetts, including Cape Cod, as well as Rhode Island and parts of Northern Connecticut;
Christus Health—serving Southeast Texas and Southwest Louisiana;
Johns Hopkins Medicine—Serving Maryland, Washington, DC, Delaware, and parts of Virginia, West Virginia, and Pennsylvania;
Martin’s Point Health Care—Serving Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, and parts of New York state;
Pacific Medical Center—Serving the Puget Sound area of Washington state;
St. Vincent Catholic Medical Centers—Serving parts of New York (including New York City), all of New Jersey, Southeast Pennsylvania, and Western Connecticut.
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