The Department of Defense provides excellent and affordable health care for members of all U.S. Military branches. Before the 1980's there were a couple of methods for health care delivery. Military members received treatment at military medical facilities, and retirees and family members received free treatment (space available) at military medical facilities, or could use a program known as CHAMPUS (Civilian Health and Medical Program Uniformed Services) to receive government-subsidized medical care from civilian providers.
TRICARE is a health care system with many options, which replaced the former plan. It is somewhat complex but you need to understand the system in order to get the best care for yourself and your dependents.
TRICARE is a regionally managed health care program for Active Duty and Retired members of the uniformed services, their families, and survivors. TRICARE brings together the health care resources of the Army, Navy and Air Force and supplements them with networks of civilian health care professionals to provide better access and high quality service while maintaining the capability to support military operations.
You have three TRICARE Health Care Options:
- TRICARE Prime - where Military Treatment Facilities (MTFs) are the principal source of health care.
- TRICARE Extra - a preferred provider option that saves money; and
- TRICARE Standard - a fee-for-service option (the old CHAMPUS program)
One of the most critical decisions you will need to make is to decide which TRICARE option is right for you and your family.
If you have other primary insurance, TRICARE Prime may not be your best option. Health Benefits Advisors are available at your local TRICARE Service Center (TSC) or Military Treatment Facility to help you decide which option is best for you.
Those Eligible for TRICARE are:
- Active duty members and their families;
- Retirees and their families; and
- Survivors of all uniformed services who are not eligible for Medicare.
Click here for more information about TRICARE Eligibility.
Click here for the latest Reserve and Guard TRICARE information.
Here are some great sources of information to get answers regarding TRICARE:
Contact your TRICARE Service Centers
Beneficiary Counseling and Assistance Coordinators (BCACs)
Debt Collection Assistance Officers in your local MTF
Latin America and Canada 1-888-777-8343
Puerto Rico & Virgin Islands 1-888-777-8343