The TRICARE Extended Care Health Option, or “ECHO”, provides extended coverage to active-duty family members with certain physical or mental disabilities beyond the coverage offered by TRICARE Prime, Standard, and Extra.
In order to be eligible for ECHO, the qualifying sponsor’s spouse or child must suffer from moderate to severe mental retardation, a serious physical disability, or an extraordinary psychological or physical condition that renders that individual homebound. Eligibility will not be affected by “aging out” for as long as the sponsor is on active-duty and responsible for more than half of the child’s financial support, and as long as the qualifying condition existed before the age limit was reached.
ECHO will cover the cost of care with regard to institutional care, medical services, rehabilitation, special education and training with assistive technology devices, and associated transportation costs. Homebound beneficiaries may qualify for ECHO Home Health Care (EHHC) as well.
ECHO will cover up to $36,000 per year in qualifying expenses, or up to $2,500 per month, excluding any EHHC benefits. If a sponsor has more than one family member qualifying for ECHO, the sponsor will only be required to pay a single monthly cost-share.
In order to enroll in ECHO, the qualifying family member must have their condition registered in their DEERS profile. In addition, the qualifying family member must be enrolled in the Exception Family Member Program, or “EFMP”, through their sponsor’s service branch. The EFMP makes sure that the family member’s condition is factored into assignment decisions and projected moving costs for the sponsor.
To enroll in EFMP, visit http://www.militaryonesource.mil/efmp
To enroll in ECHO, visit http://www.tricare.mil/Plans/SpecialPrograms/ECHO for contact information for regional TRICARE providers.