Some Tricare Paper Notifications Going Away



Tricare is moving many of its notifications from postal mail to an online system, the agency announced Oct 1.

The change will be effective immediately, according to a release from Tricare, and will impact notices about changes to coverage and Tricare eligibility, it says. That means if, for example, your coverage is pulled for any reason you will not receive a notice about it in the mail. Instead, you will receive an email or mailed post card asking you to log-in to the Defense Department’s online benefits system, milConnect, to read your change notice.

Common Access Card (CAC) holders can log into the system using their card. Others can log-in using their DFAS log-in and PIN, which is normally used to access MyPay information.

But most users will need to log-in to the system using a Department of Defense Self Service or “DS” Log-in. That username and password is used across the DoD for a variety of programs, including portions of Military One Source, for example.


There are a lot of questions about what notifications, specifically, are being impacted by this change beyond the “changes to coverage and eligibility” description Tricare gave in its release. We’re in the process of tracking down that information for you.

Whether you receive a post card or email notifying you of  a waiting message will depend on whether or not you have a working email address on file in the Defense Enrollment Eligibility Reporting System (DEERS). If you do, your notice will come by email. If you don’t, you’ll see it in the mail.

This would be a good time to think about checking with DEERS to see what email address you have on file. If it’s the one you stopped using five years ago, you could miss some notifications about some very important Tricare messages — potentially messages like “you are no longer covered.” That would be bad.

But how do you update your email address? You must … wait for it … log-in to milConnect with your DS Log-In and update your information.

So — how do you get a DS Log-In? Go here. If you are not a service member, or you do not have a MyPay account, you are going to pick the last option: “I have none of the above, but I am registered in the Defense Enrollment Eligibility Reporting System (DEERS).”

After you click that, follow the prompts to create your log-in. If you already have one and didn’t realize it, you will be prompted with your existing username. If you can’t remember your password you can ask them to help you reset it.

We’ve asked Tricare for more information on how this system will work on mobile (if at all) and how it will impact customers who either are not computer savvy or do not use the internet, like some of our older retiree population. When we have those details we’ll let you know.

About the Author

Amy Bushatz
Amy is the editor in chief of’s spouse and family blog A journalist by trade, Amy also covers spouse and family news for where she is the managing editor of spouse and family content. An Army wife and mother of two, Amy has been featured as a subject matter expert on, NPR, Fox News, NBC, CBS, ABC and BBC as well as in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal and Washington Post. Follow her on twitter @amybushatz.
  • B. Yancey

    Does this mean that Tricare will be providing me with a computer, email account and an internet account from now own, since I cannot afford one???

    • jkhutosn

      Glad that you were able to read and comment on this article, online.

      • wopor

        May be this person was reading online at the public library or using a friends computer

      • D. Leotaud

        Ha Ha. right! Maybe he/she was at the library.

  • Sarge

    Seems like every time you get one log-in place set and get used to it, they change it or add another. Now they’re consolidating a bunch of different ones for one log-in. Next each one of those separate ones will want you changing your password every 30 days, causing the others not to have the correct log-in. I’m thinking someone needs a job besides sitting at work trying to figure out how to change things.

    • MarkE8Ret

      ye, 30 day passwords, or like I love at the retiree milpay system… some absurd 24 digits long. Passwords need to be set up so your remember them, not type them out so someone can find them. I don’t even look at milpay its’ such a pain in the @$$. Like someone is going to look at my paystub…

      • Brenda

        I have even forgotten what my login is! It does take too long to get on & have to change passwords so often.

    • Richard

      Amen! They do very little except looking at computer screens!

  • Rick Ouellette

    What happens to those people who are computer illiterate and do not want a computer due to their being aged ? Will there be exceptions or is this a one size fits all ? Thank you.

    • navy vet

      Do you really expect anyone to think about that or even care.

      This type of government thinking is why vets died while on hidden waiting lists. No one really cares about military service members or vets anymore. When the current war is over and the press moves on to other government disasters it will become fashionable to bash vets and begin taking away benefits once again.

  • MarkE8Ret

    first, Tricare sucks at notifying as it is. Then, getting into the DOD system takes amputating an extremity. It’s a pain in the but. Add to it, tricare doesn’t care, so here it is.

    I would like someone to explain to me – with logic, not some political BS, how they did away with Prime for “just 3% of retiree’s, which is only 171,000 retiree’s affected” and “gave us” Standard. They and the gov’t can firmly say I “still am offered healthcare” even if it is not the one I chose.

    They said we are not within 40 miles of a MTF. OK.. so you are telling me 97% of retiree’s, which is million, ARE? There is no way.

    My wife had her annual followup and some blood tests. Last year, $24 (uh, maybe there was not a co-pay for the lab… so $12). This year? I’m out over $200 already and don’t even know if there is another bill coming.

    Sure, I saved on the premium. Let’s go there – I am covered 100% by the VA for my disability rating, and there is a major VA hospital 30 miles away… yep, I’m in that big of a city with that large of aveteran populace… yet Tricare blows smoke …

    To quote Clark Howard “let me guess, you calledf Customer NO SERVICE.” That’s Tricare. They are in itfor themself,not the customer. They are a union.

  • Jimbo

    I just tried the link above and my FireFox warned me that the site is insecure!

    • Terry

      dito Jimbo, i just got the same thing, said it is insecure and suggested that i close it and not proceed, ok now what?????

      • Jeanne Krause

        Me, too

  • tim

    tried to go to milconnect and the website security certificate is no good

  • Jim

    My Last Snail Mail From Them Was A Little Note Kicking Me Off Of Tricare Prime, Then No Further Letters or Instructions . Now After 21 Years Of Service, And 11 Yrs Into Retirement, I Get Pay As You Go Healthcare.

    • IRENE

      Jim… My hubby retires in 2016 (marines) we have Prime right now but we are a bit concern of how his retirement will affect our healthcare . Will tricare drop us to Standard after? Does this happen to all retirees? If so how bad is standard? Sigh

      • Jim

        Irene… Stay Within 40 Miles of A Base After He Retires. You Will Qualify For Prime. If You Move Furter Out, You Have to Meet A 300 Dollar Deductable (Family) For Dr. Visits And A 3000 Deductable As A Catastrpic Cap. (Per Year) The Good Part Is If You Don’t Go To The Dr. At All, It Costs You Nothing! I Swear The Letter They Sent Us Could Have Been Written By A 3rd Grader. There Were No Instructions/Information From Tricare, I Had To DIg For All The Information Myself. Don’t Worry, Standard Is Not That Bad!! Just Keep 3300 In the Bank At All Times And Your Squared Away…..

        • MarkE8Ret

          Jim, as I mentioned above, a routine annual followup with blood work ran me over $200. Sure, Standard is better than nothing, but Prime is better than Standard, especially as we age.

          Buying a home within 40 miles of a MTF sadly actually guarantees nothing. TriCare changes the rules as they see fit, and bases close. When they do, a lot of homes go on the market, so if you sell and pay to move….

          ]It’s bullsheet, plain and simple. We earned the entitlement, and we should be able to choose. And no, Standard or nothing is not a choice.

          But only 171,000 of us were affected, just 3%, so nobobdy cares.

          The other 97%, be on notice. They can’t screw us 3% anymore, so you are at risk.

      • agrwife(retired)

        If you have any healthcare needs at all, standard stinks-on ice. Depending on where you retire to, good luck finding a Prime provider. I have to drive for 45 minutes to a Prime PCP. Can’t even find a specialist that treats MS that is both taking new patients and Tri-toget-care Prime. Lots of general neurologists, but what they know about modern MS care couldn’t fill a thimble. Heart problems? A lot easier.

  • Ed Mays

    Duh….is everyone required to own and understand computing now? The inmates in DOD are running the asylum again.

  • Joe Kocsis

    What comes first, your health or automation? I say give me a computer with an e-mail account, Why can’t you continue using our postal service, it’s much safer then automation.
    Joe K.

    • D. Leotaud

      it’s much safer “than” automation. Not then.

  • Carl Hohn

    You must … wait for it … log-in to milConnect with your DS Log-In and update your information.
    What is milConnect?

    • Amy_Bushatz

      From the story “Instead, you will receive an email or mailed post card asking you to log-in to the Defense Department’s online benefits system, milConnect, to read your change notice.”

  • Eric

    This is the first I have heard of a change to Tricare. Does this mean Tricare for Life also?. Tricare should always send info. by regular mail and ask questions before making a change!!! Many retired and their spouces or widow/widowers I am sure are not computer literate. Instead of doing away with regular mail Tricare needs to get rid of people making these kind of changes!!!. My wife and mother- who is going on 91 neither one uses a computer. Congress needs to look into Tricare practices. Last week I had to refill RX’s and the computer would not take the refill info and told me to call, when I called I ask Express Scripts about the problem and they told me they are working on it, well after 4 months I would think they would have it fixed by now. My son is a System Administrator and I am sure he would have the problem fixed in a day or two not months like the computer experts at Express Scrips. E J

    • alpha papa

      You call them everyday and harass them until your meds arrive. Call your Senator and Rep. Their office has the ability to light a fire under tricare/express scrips.

    • Brenda

      I have logged in many times to renew scripts & then it takes them 2 weeks to even start processing it & then another 2 weeks before it is done & in the mail & then you wait about 10 days for it to get from AZ to your home! No wonder people don’t like to use mail-in! I have just had major surgery & had several prescriptions that had to be filled locally. The other day, I had a new script for a med that I had been on & they told me it could not be filled until “Oct. 4th”. Guess what day it was? Yep, the 4th! Someone needs to look at their calendars once in a while-yes, they do still have calendars out there!

    • Jesse B. Lunsford

      What happens to Tricare for Life???????????

  • alpha papa

    My mom is blind and 96….no computer…what the heck. I can see a long talk to my Senator over this latest nonsense. The assumption that everyone has a computer or access to one….I was told to go to the library and use theirs. Typical tricare snafu. Smh.

    • Larry

      (BOHICA) The Government strikes again. Use ya, abuse ya till you Retire then throw you away cuz they do not care about you.

    • caf

      I’ll second that comment. Same thing, Mom is 86, never had or will have a computer. And “No” she’s not going down to the public library to learn how to use a computer or sit in public trying to review private financial information. DOD needs to remember that their civilian clients widely range in age and abilities before kicking them to the curb.

    • Joyce

      and what about people who are disabled in other ways and cannot even GET to a library or those like me who live in a remote location and goign to the library is a hardship? This plan to save $ was ill conceived and I wil surely be writing to my Congressional representatives!

  • alex

    Another way the hackers can collect you information as we as a way big brother can get a tighter hold. What was that movie a few years ago? Something green.

  • Guest

    complain to your elected representative if they ever stop taking vacations! the system is broken and needs new
    players. !
    USN for 23 years

  • Bob

    I just tried to log in on their site and it is still not secure. 23 years of service and 30 years of retirement. I guess my benefits are going to go away pretty soon.

    USN, Submarine Service

  • I want to call DEERS to confirm my email address, since I moved from NM to Kansas.
    Thanks G Israel Suarez

  • agrwife(retired)

    I have tried to use their system. I have tried to get signed up. I fill out all the info. When I try to access their system, I CAN’T. It tells me various things like(the biggie) your password is incorrect, or outdated or invalid. Or I get a message telling me their site is insecure. Why on Sam’s hill can’t they just send the blasted info to the email account I actually use????? I have never had my email hacked in 10 years.

  • Guest

    They’ve been trying to get me to sign-up for several years. I’ve resisted. In that time, a contractor took medical records (loaded on a laptop) home and had the laptop stolen. (Never recovered) As well as, two seperate site security breaches of the network there at Big Willie. And still, they continue to try to get me to sign-up.

    • guest

      And an entire trucks worth of physical medical files were stolen in Texas just 4 years ago…your point being what?

  • Joyce

    This is absolutely ridiculous! What about people who don’t have a computer? What about people who don’t want to give out their private email acct or are not able to access their email frequently? I am already tired of the constant emails from many of which are SPAM trying to sell insurance and refinance packages? You are discriminating against people without computers, and those who choose not to have theri inboxes loaded with SPAM. The various military websites have all kinds of crazy ruloes about what your passwords can be etc etc so that one can hardly keep track of what they are, without storing them on their computer which is unsafe. There are SO many reasons this is a bad idea!

  • guest create an email address just for spam and sign ups, it’s really not hard, takes about two minutes to sign up with gmail. In this day in age most people have email.

    • rancid pitts

      Most young people. I’m in my Sixties and too many of my contemporaries refuse to have anything to do with Computers. Some still think it is all “DOS”.

  • Melody

    My parents are retired and don’t have acess to to this type of information. The government needs to thinks about the elderly

  • rancid pitts

    As a Retiree I socialize with other Mil. Retirees in my local area. I am the only one in my Sixties, the remainder are Seventies to Nineties and have No Idea how to Boot up a Computer, nor do they care to learn to do something that baffles them.
    Their Health is not the best as can be expected and they do not desire to burden their children or grandchildren with the details that might be exposed in the Tri-care E-mails that they would receive for the Retiree.
    This is NOT a good idea . It should have been phased in, exempting the older computer Illiterate retirees.