Tricare Overview


Want to know what’s so special about Getting TRICARE health care plans that make them more beneficial than commercial health care plans? Read this to find out more!

A question that you may find yourself asking is why opt for TRICARE in the first place, when a number of other health care plans are also available. This section aims to discuss the different benefits that are included in the TRICARE health care plans and the convenience that they offer to users, as well as how TRICARE health care plans differ from other health care options.

The first thing about TRICARE is that it extends benefits to many individuals, and not just people who are currently serving in the military forces in the United States. Apart from these men and women who are in active service, others who can be considered eligible for access to health care benefits include members of the National Guard and Reserve and people who have retired from their posts in the military forces.

The TRICARE health care program also goes beyond providing for the people who are directly affiliated with the military forces; some of the health care plans that are currently being offered also include the family members of men and women who are currently in service, as well as those who have retired. In addition to this, in the unfortunate case of the death of an individual who was, at the time of his death, still an active service duty member, health care benefits are also extended to those who survive him, such as his spouse and children.

Furthermore, certain health care programs also include any other dependents that a retiree or an active serving member of the military sources may have, such as an individual’s parents or parents-in-law. It is, therefore, no surprise that the total number of the beneficiaries of the TRICARE health care program are more than 9.5 million.

As a health care system in itself, the TRICARE program combines the total medical facilities that are offered by the various different parts of the United States military forces, which makes for an expansive network that is spread all over the country. In addition to this, the TRICARE system has also aimed to expand its coverage and provide better access to all of its beneficiaries. This was done by forming contracts with civilian health care providers and uniting with them under the umbrella of the TRICARE network. The result of this is that today a world class system is present that is providing for the physical and psychological health care needs of more than 9.5 million people.

A growing number of hospitals, medical health care clinics, doctors, nurses and other people working in the field of medical health are today part of the TRICARE network. Therefore, the advantage of having a TRICARE health care plan over other medical health care plans that are available is that any person who is eligible for these health care plans can rest assured that he or she will be provided with the required medical assistance and treatment whenever the need arises. In addition to this, the benefits of TRICARE health care programs are not just limited to those active serving members or retirees who reside within the United States, but they can also be extended to people who are living in the Pacific, in Latin America and in Europe.

At present, TRICARE offers three different types of options: TRICARE Prime, TRICARE Extra and TRICARE Standard. All of these plans come with their own advantages and restrictions. For people opting for the TRICARE prime plan, most of the medical health care facilities are catered for by on-site treatment facilities on military bases. If a person is an active serving member in any branch of the military forces, then he or she does not need to do anything because he or she will automatically be registered in the program. They will not have to pay any fees either. In addition to this, the families and dependents of people who are actively serving will not have to pay any fees either, although they will be required to register themselves.

A primary care manager is assigned to every person as soon as he or she is registered in a TRICARE Prime health care plan. This person will then be mainly responsible for managing the individual’s care and treatment, whenever the need arises. For example, the primary care provider will be the one who will make any appointments with the doctor for the individual, relieving one of the hassle of doing it on his own. This also means that every individual has guaranteed appointments with his or her doctor.

Primary care providers also keep health records for every individual. If a person requires treatment that is not provided for by the on-site medical center or hospital, then the primary care provider can write a referral to a specialist doctor. TRICARE Prime also provides coverage in cases of emergency that occur away from home. In short, this is a very feasible health care option that also provides a great deal of comfort and convenience to all its users.

Under the TRICARE Standard health care plan, an individual can visit any health care provider that has been authorized by TRICARE. Thus, there is the flexibility of choosing between various different health care providers. This means that if an individual is already seeing a civilian health care provider, then he or she can continue visiting the same medical service provider even after getting the TRICARE Standard health care plan.

An additional advantage of this is also that there is an even wider availability of services, because now an individual does not necessarily have to visit a specific on-site medical center or hospital, but can choose to visit any health care provider that is a part of the TRICARE network that is closer to his or her location. This health care plan is available for the family members of men and women who are currently serving in the military forces, as well as the family members of soldiers of reserve components who have carried out duty actively for a period greater than thirty days. Those individuals who have retired from the military forces and are obtaining retired pay can also opt for this health care plan. The advantage that TRICARE Standard offers to all its beneficiaries is that they are not required to pay any additional enrollment fee.

Furthermore, the provider of health care services itself files any reimbursement claims on behalf of the individual, thus providing added convenience and comfort. This may not be done in other health care plans, where the individual may have to go through a lengthy and strenuous process of filling out and signing forms and filing them to receive any imbursement that he or she may be entitled to.

Under the TRICARE Extra plan, an individual can choose his or her own hospital or doctor from those that are registered in the TRICARE Provider Directory. This means that the individual has the option of getting medical treatment or assistance from a doctor or a hospital that is not a part of the TRICARE network of providers as well.

As in the TRICARE Standard plan, individuals do not need to pay any enrollment fee and there is no balance billing. An additional advantage of this plan is that people do not need to fill out any forms for reimbursements or any other claims, because this is taken care of by the provider. Thus, it saves the beneficiaries the hassle of filling out forms and other technicalities.

The TRICARE health care program also has an overseas program, which is designed to provide health care services to beneficiaries who do not live in the United States, such as those who live in Canada, Europe, Latin America and the Pacific.

The TRICARE health care system can be considered different from other health care plans because of the large number of people to which it caters to, as well as the nature of services that it provides (such as providing emergency coverage if a situation is to arise away from home). Unlike other health care plans, those who are not living in the United States can also be eligible for the health care plans under the TRICARE Overseas plan.

Thus, the availability and vastness of the TRICARE health care system tends to stand unparalleled. Furthermore, the system is designed in such a way that it makes for a very comprehensive system of providing health care services to those beneficiaries who are eligible. The best medical health care facilities of the civilian system are combined with the facilities offered by the medical health centers, clinics and hospitals of the military. The TRICARE health care program does not just limit itself to providing medical services for chronic ailments or injuries, but also caters to the psychological needs of its beneficiaries.

The website provides detailed information about which services are provided for mental health care, as well as the eligibility criteria and any additional rules or regulations that may apply to each treatment or service.

1 Comment
  • Mark W. Rabenstein
    Posted at 21:17h, 22 September Reply

    I am a just retired army vet & currently have medical insurance with GEHA, a gov’t. insurance program. I have been told that one cannot have two govt. insurance plans at the same time. Does this mean that I cannot sign up for Tricare & still keep my GEHA insurance? Please help..

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