This week, military retirees began to pay higher annual TRICARE Prime enrollment fees. 

The new annual enrollment fees, which went into effect on October 1, are $269.28 for individuals and $538.56 for families.  The new rates amount to an annual increase of $9.28 for individuals and $18.56 for families enrolled after October 1, 2011 (so-called new enrollees).  For those enrolled before October 1, 2011, the annual rate will increase by $39.28 for individuals and by $78.56 for families. 

The new rates for FY2013 are based on the 3.6 percent cost of living adjustment (COLA) calculated for 2012.  The FY2012 Defense Authorization Act authorized an increase in TRICARE Prime enrollment fees each fiscal year based on the calendar year COLA.

The fees can be paid annually, quarterly, or monthly.  However, DoD advises enrollees to consider paying monthly or quarterly to avoid possible overpayments as the rates could change when the FY2013 Authorization bill is enacted. 

TRICARE Prime enrollment fees are paid by military retirees and eligible family members, survivors, and former spouses.  Survivors of active duty deceased sponsors and medically retired uniformed servicemembers and their families are exempt from the announced fee increases.  Active duty military personnel and their family members pay no enrollment fees.

Health insurance premiums will also increase for federal civilian employees.  The Office of Personnel Management recently announced that employees covered under the Federal Employees Health Benefits (FEHB) Program will see their premiums increase by an overall average of 3.4 percent in 2013.