There's a lot of valuable information in this update. For those of you who
are not TROA members, I thought I would pass this along.

1. DOD Announces Extension of TFL Eligibility Deadline
2. TRICARE Call Centers Have New Hours
3. Merck-Medco Is Now Medco Health
4. New Changes for Retired and Annuity Pay
5. Tricare For Life Rules for FEHB Finalized - Suspend, Don't Cancel
6. IRS Warns Of Identity, Financial Data Theft Scheme
7. Social Security Offers Advice For Victims Of Identify Theft
8. Feds Grant $10.3 Million For Homeland Security Volunteers
9. Register for a Federal Long Term Care Insurance Program Educational Meeting
10. Funerals: Preplanning Helps Ease The Worry
1. DOD Announces Extension of TFL Eligibility Deadline
The Department of Defense announced that the deadline for beneficiaries to update
their eligibility in the Defense Enrollment Eligibility Reporting System (DEERS)
and remain eligible for TRICARE For Life is extended one additional month until
Sept. 1, 2002. After Sept. 1, 2002, claims for beneficiaries who are not shown as
eligible in DEERS will be denied and will no longer be sent electronically from
Medicare to TRICARE for payment. These beneficiaries will be responsible for
paying for services that Medicare does not cover. Claims received for beneficiaries
with expired eligibility will continue to be denied until their eligibility
information is updated. By law, DoD must recoup (take back) payments made for
ineligible persons.

Since the initial Aug. 1 deadline for updating expired eligibility was set, DoD
has received health care claims for over 40,000 TRICARE For Life beneficiaries
with expired eligibility, of which almost 19,000 have updated their eligibility.
Approximately 4,000 lost their TRICARE eligibility due to certain events such as
divorce from a military retiree, remarriage of a widow, or death. Nearly 17,000
beneficiaries, however, have not responded to mailings from DoD urging them to
update their eligibility in DEERS so they may use TRICARE For Life.
TRICARE For Life beneficiaries who need to update or re-verify eligibility, or
beneficiaries who have received an Explanation of Benefits (EOB) stating that
they need to update their eligibility, should contact the nearest ID card facility
for assistance. The Web site developed to help beneficiaries locate the three
nearest ID card facilities is Beneficiaries also may
call the DoD Benefits Reverification Telephone Center at 1-800-361-2620.
For more information about TRICARE For Life, interested persons may visit the
TRICARE Web site at, or call the Worldwide TRICARE
Information Center toll-free at 1-888-DOD-LIFE (1-888-363-5433).
2. TRICARE Call Centers Have New Hours
The TRICARE call centers that answers calls about the TRICARE For Life Program,
Pharmacy Program, etc., have new hours of operations. The hours of operation are now:
Mon - Fri 9 a.m. - 7 p.m.
Saturday 11 a.m. - 4 p.m.
Sunday closed
For a list of those numbers see
3. Merck-Medco Is Now Medco Health.
The National Mail-Order Pharmacy (NMOP) contractor, formerly known as Merck-Medco,
has changed its name to Medco Health. You can still visit their web site at You may see both names used for the next several months.
4. New Changes for Retired and Annuity Pay
The following update was received from the Defense Finance and Accounting Service and
impacts all retirees and annuitants. DFAS announced that they have just completed two
migration projects to better serve their customers.
One migration project consolidated Retired and Annuity Pay in Cleveland, OH.
The consolidation provides more efficient processing of Retired Pay casualty
notifications and Annuity Pay establishments. The consolidation expands
customer service hours for Annuitants. Annuitants can now speak to Customer
Service Representatives between the hours of 7:00 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. Eastern
Standard Time, Monday through Friday.
You can contact DFAS Cleveland by phone at 1-800-321-1080. Retirees can fax
their requests to 1-800-469-6559. Annuitants can fax their requests to
The following information may be useful when calling the Retired and Annuity
Pay Contact Center. Customers should have pencil and paper handy to write
down information provided by the customer service representative. Customers
should be prepared to provide their social security number or spouse's
social security number in the case of Annuitants. Mondays and paydays
(first business day of the month) are typically the busiest days of the week
and month. Our peak hours are between 10:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m. Eastern
Standard Time. Customers have more success reaching us during off-peak
The second migration project involved relocating the current DFAS mail handling
operations to London, Kentucky. The London, Kentucky facility has state of
the art equipment that enhances the processing of your correspondence. The
change ensures rapid handling of all incoming mail, which ultimately results
in faster responses to you.
Retirees and Annuitants should use the following addresses when attempting
to contact DFAS:
Retirees (Effective 1 Sep 02)
Defense Finance and Accounting Service
U. S. Military Retirement Pay
P.O. Box 7130
London, KY 40742-7130
Annuitants (Effective 1 Aug 02)
Defense Finance and Accounting Service
U.S. Military Annuitant Pay
P.O. Box 7131
London, KY 40742-7131
DFAS recommens that you submit copies rather than original documents, when
warranted, since original documents can not be returned to you. All
correspondence should contain the Retiree's or Annuitant's social security
Retirees and Annuitants can also email their pay inquiries to DFAS.
Logon on to and click on Contact DFAS. Scroll down the
page to the appropriate title, i.e. Retired Pay or Annuitant Pay. Scroll
down and click on Questions or comments. Select Military Retiree or
Annuitant then fill out the data fields. After you have completed your
inquiry, click Submit at the bottom of the page. All e-mail inquiries will
be answered in five to seven business days.
DFAS offers a wide range of opportunities to contact them concerning any
questions you may have about your account. DFAS has conveyed to TROA their
strong desire to provide you with the best service possible to meet your needs.
5. Tricare For Life Rules for FEHB Finalized - Suspend, Don't Cancel
The Office of Personnel Management has published final rules on the relationship
between the Federal Employees Health Benefits (FEHB) program and the Tricare,
Tricare for Life and CHAMPVA programs for certain FEHB participants eligible
for coverage under those programs either personally or as a family member. In
many cases enrolling in those programs if eligible would be financially
advantageous over keeping FEHB coverage. The rule, published allows FEHB-eligible
annuitants, survivors and former spouses to suspend their FEHB coverage to enroll
in one of those programs if eligible.
In general, FEHB policy bars annuitants who cancel their coverage from getting
back into the program; the rules provide an exception to that policy by deeming
the action a suspension of FEHB coverage rather than a cancellation. The rules
allow covered individuals to return to FEHB coverage immediately if they
involuntarily lose the other coverage or during the next annual FEHB open season
regardless of whether they remain eligible for the other coverage. The rules also
clarify a similar situation involving FEHB-covered annuitants and former spouses
by allowing an individual who drops FEHB coverage when he or she enrolls in a
Medicare-sponsored plan, or in Medicaid or a similar state-sponsored program of
medical assistance for the needy, to return to FEHB coverage during the annual
open season or immediately upon being involuntarily disenrolled from the non-FEHB
Active working federal employees may not suspend their FEHB coverage to use
TRICARE or TRICARE For Life or CHAMPVA. However, they can cancel their coverage
to use TRICARE or TRICARE For Life. Employees who cancelled FEHB coverage to use
Tricare, TRICARE For Life or CHAMPVA programs who then decide to return to FEHB
coverage can do so during a future open season. If the employee involuntarily
loses their enrollment in one of these programs, they may reenroll in FEHB
immediately. Working federal employees should contact their personnel office
for guidance.
6. IRS Warns Of Identity, Financial Data Theft Scheme
The Internal Revenue Service recently warned of a fraudulent scheme that uses
fictitious bank correspondence and IRS forms in an attempt to trick taxpayers
into disclosing their personal and banking data. The information fraudulently
obtained is then used to steal the taxpayer's identity and bank account deposits.
In this scam, a letter claiming to be from the taxpayer's bank states that the
"bank" is updating its records in order to exempt the taxpayer from reporting
interest or having tax withheld on interest paid on his or her bank accounts or
other financial dealings. Legally, banks must report interest to the IRS and
taxpayers must include it as income.
People who receive the fraudulent letter and form in the mail should immediately
contact Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) and their
financial institution about the attempted fraud. Those who have already been
victimized by this scheme should contact the fraud or security department of
their creditors, banks and financial institutions, as well as TIGTA and their
local police department and postal inspector's office, to report the identity
and financial theft.
TIGTA investigates a wide variety of offenses, including the misuse of IRS
insignia, seals and symbols and identity theft related to tax administration.
Taxpayers who have received a fraudulent letter and form should report this
to TIGTA by calling the toll-free fraud referral hotline at 1-800-366-4484,
faxing a complaint to 202-927-7018 or writing to the TIGTA Hotline, P.O.
Box 589, Ben Franklin Station, Washington, D.C. 20044-0589. TIGTA's Web site
is located at
Additionally, victims should report the identity and financial theft to the
fraud units of the three credit reporting bureaus at the numbers below:
Equifax Credit Information Services, Consumer Fraud Division (800-525-6285)
Experian Fraud Reporting (888-397-3742)
Trans Union Fraud Victim Assistance Department (800-680-7289)
For more information visit the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency's
Web site at
7. Social Security Offers Advice For Victims Of Identify Theft
If you become a victim of identity theft, there are ways to recover your good
credit rating. First, report the identity theft to Social Security's Fraud
Hotline at 1-800-269-0271. Then, report it to the Federal Trade Commission's I
D Theft Hotline, 1-877-IDTHEFT.
You also should contact the three major credit bureaus, (listed above), tell
them you're an identity theft victim and ask them to place a fraud alert on
your records. Also, write your creditors and ask them to contact you before
opening any new accounts in your name or changing existing accounts or credit
limits. For more information on identity theft, visit the SSA identity theft page.
8. Feds Grant $10.3 Million For Homeland Security Volunteers
WASHINGTON, July 24, 2002 -- The federal government is providing $10.3 million
in grants to help nonprofit and public organizations involve citizen volunteers
in homeland security. Many Americans have asked how they can help, and Volunteer
programs across the country provide the answer.
Today, more than 2 million Americans engage each year in national service through
AmeriCorps, Senior Corps, and Learn and Serve America -- three programs brought
under President Bush's new umbrella USA Freedom Corps. The president set up the
Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) last November to be part of
the Freedom Corps to recruit volunteers to support public safety, public health
and disaster preparedness and relief.
Volunteers provide public safety support by organizing neighborhood watch groups
and providing victim assistance. They also do fingerprinting and other administrative
tasks that can free officers for street work. Volunteers help immunize children
and adults, serve as case managers, distribute health information and do health s
CNCS also aims to provide more than 5,000 volunteers to work with the Federal
Emergency Management Agency and other relief agencies in helping communities
respond to disasters. Since Sept. 11, hundreds of volunteers have helped victims
of the terrorist attacks by providing family services, organizing blood drives,
raising funds and counseling victims' families.
For more information on homeland security volunteer initiatives, visit
9. Register for a Federal Long Term Care Insurance Program Educational Meeting
If you are interested in attending a Federal Long Term Care Insurance Plan (FLTCIP)
Program Educational Meeting, you may register via the LTC Partners web site: If instead of
registering online you would prefer to speak with a representative about registering
for a meeting, please call 1-800-LTC-FEDS (1-800-582-3337). If you are hearing
impaired, please call 1-800-843-3557 (TDD).
While a total of 2,000 or so meetings will occur during FLTCIP Open Season (1 Jul 2002
through 31 Dec 2002), please keep in mind that meetings will not be offered at every
Federal location, nor outside of the United States. All Program Educational Meetings
will be held between mid July 2002 and November 2002.
LTC Partners advises registrants to follow these procedures when registering on line:
Please select a state to identify a meeting near you and then click "search" to
identify meetings in your state. If the meeting in your preferred city is marked
"To Be Determined (TBD)," please check back with LTCFEDS two to three weeks before
the meeting date to view updated meeting locations and times. In addition, if a
meeting is marked "closed", please select another meeting location near you or
visit to view an online version of the Program Educational Meeting.
Please note that some meeting locations have strict security requirements which
limit who can enter. Therefore, you should choose a meeting in a location that
you are certain you can access. In addition, some agencies/departments must
restrict attendance at meetings at their locations to employees of their agency or
department only. These meetings are marked "restricted."
After you have completed your registration, on the last page, click on the word
Summary to the left, then click on the words My Agenda to view the meeting location
you have registered for.
10. Funerals: Preplanning Helps Ease The Worry
When a loved one dies, grieving family members and friends often are confronted
with dozens of decisions about the funeral - all of which must be made quickly
and often under great emotional duress.
Funerals rank among the most expensive purchases many consumers will ever make.
A traditional funeral, including a casket and vault, costs about $6,000, although
"extras" like flowers, obituary notices, acknowledgment cards or limousines can
add thousands of dollars to the bottom line. Many funerals run well over $10,000.
But they don't have to.
Information available on the Federal Trade Commission web site may help you make
an informed, rational and unemotional decision in advance of a funeral. To receive
this information, visit: