Important deadlines are coming up if you want to make changes or enroll in health care coverage.

Dec. 13: Tricare open season ends. It applies to anyone enrolled in or eligible for a Tricare Prime option or Tricare Select. If you’re happy with your current health care plan, you don’t have to take any action.

This is the only time of year when you can make changes to — or enroll in — Tricare Prime, including the U.S. Family Health Plan, or Tricare Select, outside of a qualifying life event such as marriage, birth of a baby, or retirement from active duty. You can also switch plans entirely. Changes you make go into effect Jan. 1, 2022. Visit www.tricare.mil/openseason.

Tricare open season doesn’t apply to active duty service members; or to beneficiaries age 65 or older, who are covered by Tricare for Life. It doesn’t apply to the four premium-based health care plans: Tricare Reserve Select, Tricare Retired Reserve, Tricare Young Adult and Continued Health Care. Enrollment changes to these programs can be made at any time of the year.

To enroll in or change plans, you can log in to milConnect and click on the “Manage health benefits” button. You can visit the Enroll or Purchase a Plan section of the Tricare website for more information, including details if you want to call your Tricare regional contractor or the U.S. Family Health Plan Designated Provider to make the changes.

Dec. 13: Federal Employees Dental and Vision Insurance Program open season also ends Dec. 13. Most military retirees and their family members are eligible for dental and vision coverage under FEDVIP, which is administered by the Office of Personnel Management.

Active duty family members, reservists and their family members are among those eligible specifically for the vision coverage under FEDVIP. Visit www.benefeds.com.

Dec. 15: The more than 5,300 Walmart and Sam’s Club pharmacies will leave the Tricare network as of Dec. 15. There are more than 59,000 pharmacies in the Tricare retail pharmacy network. CVS pharmacies return to the Tricare network on Dec. 15, after a five-year hiatus. There are nearly 10,000 CVS pharmacy locations, including many inside Target stores.

Karen has covered military families, quality of life and consumer issues for Military Times for more than 30 years, and is co-author of a chapter on media coverage of military families in the book "A Battle Plan for Supporting Military Families." She previously worked for newspapers in Guam, Norfolk, Jacksonville, Fla., and Athens, Ga.

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