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TRICARE Operations Manual 6010.62-M, April 2021
Communications and Customer Service (C&CS)
Chapter 11
Section 6
Defense Health Agency (DHA) Communications
Revision:  
1.0  COMMUNICATIONS
The Government will provide printed and digital educational materials except for geographical-designated area provider education materials.
1.1  The contractor shall distribute Government-furnished materials from the national suite of products to Markets/Military Medical Treatment Facilities (MTFs), National Guard and Reserve units, military recruiters, other Government agencies, and beneficiaries.
1.1.1  This will be done in conjunction with the Government’s quarterly production schedule.
1.1.2  The Government may also print off-cycle due to excess demand.
1.1.3  The contractor shall adjust its distribution accordingly.
1.2  The contractor shall submit contractor-produced educational materials to the DHA Communications for review and approval.
1.3  DHA Communications review and approval may take up to 60 calendar days. Approval will be based on justification that supports a uniform image and consistency in the provision of TRICARE Program information.
1.4  The contractor shall include links to TRICARE’s social media, web pages, and email subscription services in its print and digital marketing and education materials.
1.5  The contractor shall send text messages to enrolled beneficiaries on behalf of DHA Communications.
1.5.1  DHA Communications will provide messaging for open enrollment season and geo-targeting disaster messaging.
1.5.2  The contractor shall follow federal and state privacy laws with regard to opting in or out of text messaging services.
1.6  The contractor shall use email aliases assigned by DHA Communications when sending emails to beneficiaries that indicates the message is from TRICARE.
1.7   The contractor shall use marketing toolkits provided by DHA Communications, including briefings, emails, and text messages when communicating with beneficiaries.
1.8  The contractor shall allow the beneficiary to opt-out of or unsubscribe from electronic communications upon request.
2.0  CONTRACTOR ENGAGEMENT WITH DHA COMMUNICATIONS
2.1  The contractor shall participate in formal teleconferences with DHA Communications to discuss marketing and education activities.
2.2  The contractor shall be available for ad-hoc meetings upon request of DHA Communications. Subjects may include significant legislative changes, or crisis events (e.g., natural disasters, war, world events, and data security events).
3.0  GENERAL REQUIREMENTS
3.1  The contractor shall use training material provided by DHA Communications when conducting the required three-day TRICARE training course in accordance with Section 2.
3.2  The contractor shall conduct this course each quarter at locations within the contractor’s geographical area of responsibility.
4.0  PUBLICATIONS
4.1  The contractor shall distribute newsletters provided by DHA Communications to all enrolled and eligible beneficiaries, Congressional offices, and Beneficiary Counseling and Assistance Coordinators (BCACs).
4.1.1  This includes one newsletter each quarter, with one being printed and mailed, and three being emailed.
4.1.2  The printed newsletter will be the annual open enrollment season newsletter delivered 60 to 90 calendar days before open enrollment season begins.
4.1.2.1  This includes one newsletter each quarter, with one quarter being printed and mailed, and three quarters being emailed.
4.1.2.2  The contractor shall mail the printed version.
4.2  Use and Development
4.2.1  The contractor shall use educational materials provided by the DHA Communications.
4.2.2  DHA Communications is responsible for the overall development, design, and content writing of the materials.
4.2.3  The contractor shall develop materials by exception using the current Military Health System (MHS) style guide to support specific initiatives.
4.2.4  The contractor shall coordinate its digital and print template design with DHA Communications.
4.2.5  The contractor shall collaborate, including review when requested, in the development of content for TRICARE Program educational materials. This includes submitting updates and suggesting topics for educational materials.
4.2.6  The contractor shall discuss Publication products with DHA Communications on a monthly basis, at a minimum.
4.2.7  The contractor shall annually validate the names and contact information for its communications and marketing personnel.
4.2.8  The contractor shall communicate to DHA Communications any significant communication and marketing personnel changes within seven calendar days of the change.
4.2.9  The contractor shall make recommendations quarterly to the DHA Communications about creating new materials or updating existing materials.
4.2.10  The contractor shall identify, verbally or in writing, educational needs arising as a result of new or modified benefits as needed.
4.2.11  The contractor shall communicate, collaborate and coordinate with DHA Communications Division regarding public announcements of program changes in educational materials.
4.3  Ordering and Storage
4.3.1  The contractor shall be responsible for all storage, handling, and distribution of printed materials received from the Government.
4.3.2  The contractor shall submit initial material requests to DHA Communications with a copy to the Contracting Officer (CO) and Government Designated Authority (GDA).
4.3.3  The contractor shall send requests for future copies of existing materials to DHA Communications. Requests shall follow the process and time frames noted in the production and delivery schedule given to the contractor by DHA Communications.
4.3.4  The contractor shall provide DHA Communications with the storage facility address and information within 90 calendar days and provide DHA Communications with any address changes.
4.3.5  The contractor shall use or refer to the https://tricare.mil website when print material is not available.
4.3.6  DHA TRICARE materials are maintained on https://tricare.mil in electronic format for downloading and distribution.
4.3.7  The contractor shall, based on its own discretion and requests from beneficiaries, request additional educational materials from the dental contractor (Active Duty Service Member (ADSM) and Active Duty Family Member (ADFM)).
4.3.8  The contractor shall inform DHA Communications Division and the GDA of these requests one month prior to needing the material.
4.3.9  The contractor shall, based on its own discretion and inquiries from beneficiaries, request additional educational materials from the pharmacy contractor.
4.3.10  The contractor shall inform DHA Communications and the GDA of these requests one month prior to needing the materials.
4.4  Distribution
4.4.1  The contractor shall distribute existing, relevant DHA Communications-developed or approved geographic area of responsibility-specific education materials to beneficiaries, the geographical area of responsibility Markets/MTFs, Congressional offices, and other interested parties actively involved in or interested in the TRICARE benefit upon request, Government direction or request. This may be done through mail or other delivery means with the approval from the Government.
4.4.2  The contractor shall print and mail out a welcome packet to each new beneficiary household. Welcome packets will include a welcome letter, costs, fees sheet, wallet, and the appropriate plan or program handbook DHA communications develops the packet contents.
5.0  SOCIAL MEDIA
5.1  The contractor shall, when using social media to communicate with TRICARE beneficiaries, only use official TRICARE social media platforms.
5.2  The contractor shall submit topics of interest to DHA Communications for TRICARE social media channels on an ongoing basis.
5.3  The contractor shall provide customer service support to DHA Communications to assist in responding to comments and questions received via social media.
5.4  The contractor shall answer comments and questions received via the TRICARE website, social media platforms, and email within two business hours from receiving the comment or question from DHA Communications.
5.5  The contractor shall participate in up to six Government-hosted live events on TRICARE social media platforms each contract option period.
6.0  BENEFICIARY OUTREACH
6.1  The contractor shall submit a written annual plan listing which beneficiary outreach events it will attend where it discusses the TRICARE benefit or speaks to TRICARE beneficiaries.
6.2  The contractor shall use a DHA Communications-approved TRICARE scheme for any conference exhibit booths.
6.3  The contractor shall provide TRICARE-knowledgeable staff to support DHA Communications at conference exhibit booths up to six times per year. Conferences may or may not be within the contractor’s geographical area of responsibility and are generally one to three calendar days, up to 10 hours per day.
6.4  The contractor shall respond to beneficiary inquiries regarding pending significant benefit or program changes affecting the majority of beneficiaries or plan members using scripts, responses, or toolkits provided by DHA Communications.
6.4.1  DHA Communications will provide contractors with the scripts and responses for review at least 15 calendar days before the Government issues the contract modification or implementation date.
6.4.2  The contractor shall, after use of DHA Communications-approved content, submit a written report on the effect of communication and education efforts at least 90 calendar days after use of the content was fully implemented.
6.4.3  The contractor shall provide additional evaluations as required or directed by DHA Communications.
6.5  The contractor shall refer beneficiaries to the TRICARE Medicare Eligible Program (TMEP) contractor when it receives inquiries about the program’s coverage and eligibility.
7.0  World Wide Web (WWW)
7.1  The contractor shall only use https://tricare.mil for non-secure web communication.
7.1.1  The contractor shall update https://tricare.mil with contract-specific information through the Government Content Management System (CMS).
7.1.2  The contractor shall access the CMS using a Department of Defense (DoD) Common Access Card (CAC).
7.1.3  DHA Communications will review and publish contractor CMS entries.
7.2  The contractor shall design, host, and maintain a secure portal with the look and feel of https://tricare.mil. Identified users - beneficiaries, provider, and Government staff will have access to resources related to the contractor’s management of the TRICARE benefit.
7.2.1  The contractor shall submit portal redesign plans to DHA Communications no later than 90 calendar days in advance of implementation and testing.
7.2.2  The contractor shall provide a secure electronic one-on-one messaging feature, such as an online chat or a text messaging option in its secure portal for beneficiary customer service.
7.3  The contractor shall provide customer service support to respond within 30 calendar days for routine correspondence to comments and questions received via web and email from either its secure portal, or through DHA enterprise websites, as appropriate.
7.4  The contractor shall, by invitation of DHA Communications, participate in up to six live events each contract option period. These events can include webinars or live streaming events hosted on TRICARE digital platforms.
8.0  BRANDING
8.1  The contractor shall use TRICARE brand standards when developing any materials for beneficiaries and providers. Brand standards are located at https://tricare.mil/brand.
8.2  The contractor shall follow laws and regulations related to trademark protection when using TRICARE logos and marks including using ownership statements.
8.3  The contractor shall not use its own branding, logos, or marks on materials sent to TRICARE beneficiaries.
8.4  The contractor shall report branding violations, by network or non-network providers, to DHA Communications within one business day after discovery.
9.0  MEDIA RELATIONS
9.1  The contractor shall email DHA Communications of any media inquiries relating to TRICARE immediately upon receipt to dha.ncr.comm.cal.dha-media@mail.mil.
9.2  The contractor shall submit to DHA Communications for approval any proposed media activities such as responses to inquiries, news releases, press conferences, publications, and other media events prior to release of the information.
9.2.1  The contractor shall provide copies of information provided to the media and a summary of any discussions to DHA Communications.
9.2.2  The contractor shall speak to the media only on issues for which it has direct responsibility and not on issues beyond the scope of the support it provides the Government.
10.0  REPORTS AND DELIVERABLES
10.1  The contractor shall share its list of beneficiary email addresses with DHA Communications four times a year for messaging directly to beneficiaries. For reporting requirements, see DD Form 1423, Contract Data Requirements List (CDRL), located in Section J of the applicable contract.
10.2  The contractor shall provide written or oral feedback to DHA Communications following each TRICARE Fundamentals course (or equivalent) to assist in providing appropriate training materials. For reporting requirements, see DD Form 1423, CDRL, located in Section J of the applicable contract.
10.3  The contractor shall report how many pieces from each required mailing of the newsletter(s) were undeliverable and remove bad addresses from its system, refer to paragraph 4.1. For reporting requirements, see DD Form 1423, CDRL, located in Section J of the applicable contract.
10.4  The contractor shall report on the number of paper publications distributed, destroyed, and on hand on a quarterly basis using Government-provided templates. Details for submission are identified by DD Form 1423, CDRL, located in Section J of the applicable contract.
10.5  The contractor shall submit a written annual plan listing which beneficiary outreach events it will attend where it discusses the TRICARE benefit or speaks to TRICARE beneficiaries. For plan requirements, see DD Form 1423, CDRL, located in Section J of the applicable contract.
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