Beginning April 1, Tricare will cease administrative walk-in services at 189 military health plan service centers around the US. Beneficiaries can complete administrative tasks online or by phone, said Pentagon spokesman Army Col. Steve Warren in a Jan. 14 release. Shuttering the walk-in services “will not affect any Tricare medical benefit or health care benefit,” Warren said. “What it will do is allow the department to save $250 million over the next five years, allowing Tricare to invest in more important services.” According to the release, 50 percent of visits to military health plan service centers are for in- and out-processing and requests to change primary care providers, while the rest involve billing-related questions. DOD spends roughly $50 million annually on these services when it can be handled more efficiently via telephone or online, states the release. “Technology has gotten so much better,” said Warren, which is the reason for this change. Tricare service centers overseas will not be affected, states the release.
In a nighttime ceremony contrived to continue concealment of many of its features, the new B-21 bomber rolled out of Northrop Grumman's Palmdale, Calif. plant Dec. 2. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said the aircraft's advanced technology represents "deterrence, the American way."