Troops urged to update DEERS tracks
December 30, 2003
CAMP FOSTER, Okinawa — Arlita McClintock, Tricare marketing representative at the U.S. Naval Hospital Okinawa, has a reminder for servicemembers and families planning a permanent change of station this year: However long the to-do list, be sure to include keeping you and your family’s information up to date in the Defense Enrollment Eligibility Reporting System.
DEERS keeps health data on active duty servicemembers and their families, retirees and civilian employees, McClintock said. The Tricare health services plan uses DEERS to verify patients’ eligibility — meaning that outdated information could delay medical treatment.
“If your family members are not in DEERS, if their ID cards are not current or if your contact information is incorrect, you and your dependents are not eligible” to use Tricare benefits at military treatment facilities, she said, adding that just lack of current address or phone number can prolong a reimbursement request and even delay medical care.
DEERS records also should be updated when those eligible get married or divorced, have a new family member or assume the care of a parent, she said.
A temporary identification number will be assigned a new baby until the child is given its Social Security number, she said, adding that it’s important parents apply for this immediately as the temporary ID is good for 90 days only.
If a family member’s Social Security number isn’t registered in DEERS within 90 days, his or her medical record is flagged, and care at a military treatment facility could be denied.
If the family member is a local national and will not be petitioning for U.S. residency, a more permanent identification number will be assigned.
Civilian employees are not eligible for Tricare, McClintock said, but because they can receive care at a military facility on a space-available basis, their DEERS records should be updated with status, address or phone number changes.
To update DEERS information, log on to the DEERS Web site at tricare.osd.mil/deers or contact the local DEERS office. All changes made in person must be made by the sponsor, or someone with a power of attorney for the individual whose records are being changed. For more information, contact your local DEERS office at these DSN numbers:
• Torii Station: 644-4257• Kadena Air Base: 634-4673 for Air Force; 634-9476 for Navy• Camp Foster: 645-4039• Camp Kinser: 637-1706• Camp Courtney: 622-9361• Camp Schwab: 625-2435• Camp Hansen: 623-7059