Dear Coast Guard Family: Need help with TRICARE? Subject matter experts are available

No comments

Once a month, Coast Guard Compass will feature “Dear Coast Guard Family,” a column for Coast Guard families by Coast Guard spouse Rachel Conley. Rachel is married to her high school sweetheart, Chief Warrant Officer James Conley, and is the mother of three children. Rachel passionately serves as a Coast Guard Ombudsman and advocate of Coast Guard families. She is the recipient of numerous awards, including the United States Coast Guard Ombudsman of the Year Award.

Have you ever struggled to navigate TRICARE or experienced a billing issue?  Help is available!  The Coast Guard offers a Health Benefits Advisory (HBA) call center to assist with a variety of benefit questions and concerns related to TRICARE medical, dental, and pharmacy coverage. Through a convenient hotline and email address, all Coast Guard TRICARE beneficiaries (active duty, reserve, retired members and their families) can connect with Beneficiary Counseling and Assistance Coordinators (BCACs).  These subject matter experts are TRICARE liaisons and provide a variety of services.

Available Assistance

  • TRICARE benefit information
  • Billing issues
  • Claims/debt collection
  • Referrals/Authorizations
  • Enrollment assistance
  • Eligibility questions
  • Access to care concerns

Advice from the Experts

Take these steps if you experience a medical or dental billing issue

  1. “Review the bill closely – look for any inaccuracies or explanations,” said Petty Officer First Class Cherise Enloe, a beneficiary counseling and assistance coordinator.  
  2. “Contact the provider’s billing department and verify that they have the correct information – including the sponsor’s name, social security number, and date of birth,” said Enloe.  The provider should submit the claim under the sponsor’s (the military member’s) information.
  3. Call your TRICARE medical or dental contractor for assistance if needed. 
  4. If you’re unable to resolve the billing issue with the provider or TRICARE, contact the Health Benefits Advisory call center.

Register for an online account and monitor the status of your referrals/authorizations

Chief Warrant Officer Kameo Gorman encourages beneficiaries to register for an online account with their TRICARE Regional Contractor

“An online account will allow you to review your claims and the status of your referrals,” said Gorman.  “Some care requires a referral.  It’s important to make sure that the referral is in place prior to seeking care.  Although a doctor may print and provide a referral, the beneficiary should not act on that referral until it has been approved by TRICARE.”  Beneficiaries should also closely review the referral to learn which provider was approved, how many visits were authorized, and other important parameters. 

Keep your information and enrollments up-to-date

“When members and families move, they need to update their information,” said Enloe. 

Beneficiaries are covered by their current plan on their way to the new location, but they will need to update their address and other personal information after the move.  Moving is considered a qualifying life event, which allows eligible beneficiaries to make enrollment changes.

“After having a baby or adopting a child, it’s also important to take action within the required timeline to avoid unexpected bills,” shared Enloe. 

Your dental plan is separate from your health plan

  • Active duty members typically receive dental care at military dental clinics or through the Active Duty Dental Program when a civilian dentist is required.  Information on dental care for reserve members can be found here
  • Active duty and reserve family members are eligible for the TRICARE Dental Program, a voluntary, purchased dental insurance plan that requires enrollment. “In addition to monthly premiums, this plan also has cost-shares,” said Gorman. 
  • Retired members and their families are eligible to enroll in FEDVIP Dental, a voluntary, purchased dental insurance plan.  Enrollment can occur during the Federal Benefits Open Season or after experiencing a qualifying life event. 

The US Family Health Plan, a TRICARE Prime option available in some locations, offers dental discounts.  It’s important to know that the coverage offered by US Family Health Plan is not a dental insurance.  Families should remain enrolled in their TRICARE dental plan if they want to maintain dental insurance benefits. 

How to contact the Coast Guard Health Benefits Advisory Call Center

If you have been unable to resolve your question or concern through your TRICARE Medical, Dental or Pharmacy contractor, please contact the Coast Guard Health Benefits Advisory call center. 

  • Telephone:  1-800-9-HBA-HBA (1-800-942-2422)
    Phones are answered between 7:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m. PST, Monday – Friday.  All messages left after normal business hours will be returned the following business day. 
  • Email:  CGHBA@uscg.mil
    When sending an email, please provide as much information as possible (example:  the bill, statement, referral, etc.).

In addition to the call center, Beneficiary Counseling and Assistance Coordinators train and support a network of Coast Guard Health Benefits Advisors who are serving in all Coast Guard Clinics and some Department of Defense medical facilities. 

Visit the TRICARE website to learn more about your benefits, including what’s covered, health plan options, out-of-pocket costs, and more!

Leave a Reply