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Tricare to close service centers April 1st
The military's Tricare health program plans to stop offering face-to- face customer service on April 1st.
Right now Tricare runs nearly 200 Administrative Service Centers in the United States.
Closing them will save 50-million dollars a year.
Tricare says recipients will still be able to get help online and by phone.
Channel Three's Joe Douglass talked with some Tricare recipients about the change.
He joins us live with their reaction.
The Defense Department is emphasizing that this change will not, let me repeat, will not affect any Tricare medical benefit or health care service.
But walk-in customer service at centers like the one here at Naval Hospital Pensacola will soon be a thing of the past.
"Do you have your military ID card, please?"
"Uh, I do."
Right now, if you're a Tricare recipient and you need help with things like claims paperwork, enrollment changes and other administrative tasks, you can walk in to a Tricare Service Center and get help face to face.
"Um, this would be the application that you would fill out." From a real, live human being.
But that service will come to an end by April 1st, when administrative help will only be available over the phone and online.
Joseph Stanberry Sr., TRICARE Recipient: "I think that's a much needed service and that's a disservice to the veterans, really."
Tricare recipients we spoke with had mixed feelings about the change.
Joseph Stanberry Sr., TRICARE Recipient: "I'm a senior citizen. I don't have a computer. I don't even know a whole lot about computers, so I think they should have somebody in place to
Vernon Campbell, TRICARE Recipient: "I never really go to the offices, anyway. I tend to do most of mine online simply because it's much easier."
Tricare Service Centers overseas will not be closing.
And again, this change will have not affect Tricare medical benefits or health care services.
We've posted more information on the change and how to get help at weartv.com or just click here