MARINE CORPS AIR STATION CHERRY POINT, N.C. -- The Tricare walk-in service center located in Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point's Naval Health Clinic (NHC) will close April 1. All TRICARE services from that point on will be provided online at tricare.mil or at 1-877-TRICARE (1-877-874-2273).
TRICARE is a health insurance program for active duty, reserve and retired military members and their families, as well as the National Guard. More than nine million people participate in TRICARE.
TRICARE walk-in service centers located across the United States will no longer provide walk-in service due to technology that makes TRICARE more accessible via the internet and toll-free telephone numbers. The changes will help facilitate administrative tracking and ease of access for patients.
The TRICARE website has received recent updates, said Laurie Varner, the public affairs officer for the NHC. The website answers frequently asked questions without requiring a patient to visit an office.
Service members and other TRICARE beneficiaries should expect no changes to actual healthcare services due to the closures, said Navy Lt. Nandu Polavarapu, the health care business department head with the NHC. Patients will still be able to seek medical treatment as they always have.
What will change, however, is how patients enroll, check on claims, change their assigned primary care manager or find answers to general TRICARE questions.
"One of the biggest effects will be the medical check-in process when people report for duty here,” said Polavarapu. “While everyone can utilize the website or the 1-877-TRICARE number to check-in on their own, we are looking to supplement that with a medical check-in brief that will serve to provide basic TRICARE and clinic information as well as assistance with the clinic enrollment process."
NHC encourages patients with questions and concerns about their TRICARE services to visit the TRICARE website at tricare.mil or to call their toll free number at 1-877-TRICARE, according to Varner.