TRICARE and Disaster Declarations: What You Should Know

TRICARE and Disaster Declarations: What You Should Know
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TRICARE issued 34 disaster alerts covering all or part of 22 states in the first half of 2021, including 12 alerts in June alone. These notifications, announced on the TRICARE website, mean significant changes to health care benefits for those in the affected states or counties.


After a state of emergency has been declared in a given area, TRICARE may respond by changing prescription-refill rules, waiving the need for a doctor’s referral to receive covered care, or issuing other emergency-related benefits. These benefits could be limited to a single metropolitan area, as with the recent Florida building collapse, or take up a large swath of the nation – an August 2020 emergency declaration in the wake of severe Gulf Coast storms covered six whole states and dozens of Texas counties.


[RELATED: MOAA’s 2020-21 TRICARE Guide]


The most common disaster declaration allows for emergency refills for prescription medication. Beneficiaries in these disaster areas can receive a refill by taking their prescription bottle to any TRICARE retail network pharmacy; find one using this locator, or by calling (877) 363-1303.


TRICARE may also issue blanket waivers during a disaster, with many beneficiaries unable to see their primary care physician under such circumstances. In these cases, those in affected areas can visit any TRICARE-authorized provider without a referral, and go to any TRICARE-authorized hospital or medical facility without a referral.


Visit for more information, including guidance for disaster preparedness and what to do following an emergency, and to sign up to receive disaster alerts via email.



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About the Author

Kevin Lilley
Kevin Lilley

Lilley serves as MOAA's digital content manager. His duties include producing, editing, and managing content for a variety of platforms, with a concentration on The MOAA Newsletter and Follow him on Twitter: @KRLilley