Killeen physician concerned over new policy changes affecting military patients

Posted at 10:39 PM, Apr 25, 2016
and last updated 2016-04-25 23:49:06-04

A Killeen physician is concerned recent insurance policy changes will cause him to lose dozens of military patients -- some of whom he's taken care of for years.

Dr. Jeffrey Jundt has practiced rheumatology in the Killeen-Fort Hood area for more than 14 years. 

He currently provides services to his patients under TRICARE's Humana Military plan at a set rate. That rate is partially paid for by the insurance company and partially paid for by the patient.

But after May 9, his military patients will have to personally pay the full amount of their care upfront, according to a memo he sent to his patients.

His private practice will no longer appear in their network, he said. Instead, his office's relationship with Humana Military will change to out-of-network status.

His office had to make this change because of recent government cuts but also because of Fort Hood's Direct-In Campaign, he said.

Military patients under certain TRICARE plans who live within 30 minutes of Darnall Army Medical Center will need to see a primary care manager there beginning June 7. They can opt out of this if they choose other TRICARE plans with higher deductibles.

If they choose not to, and they see a doctor out of the center, they will have to pay out-of-network fees, which a viewer told News Channel 25 she's concerned she won't be able to afford.

Jundt said this is going to be a problem for all of his military patients, but especially those who cannot afford the higher costs.

"I'm the only rheumatologist in the Central Texas area ... in this area here. Fort Hood-Copperas Cove-Killeen. Where are my patients going to go? How are they going to be cared for? There's no rheumatologist on base," Jundt said.

Contrary to some rumors, though, Jundt says his practice isn't going anywhere. But he is urging his patients and the community to contact TRICARE and Humana Military to voice their concerns.

News Channel 25 reached out to Humana Military, which is what TRICARE uses in Texas, and a representative said he's working on a response.

News Channel 25's Rochelle Alleyne contributed to this story.

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