TRICARE Toolkit: Going Overseas

TRICARE Toolkit: Going Overseas
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More than 45,000 military retirees and surviving spouses were living overseas as of the end of FY 2021. It’s likely at least half of them have aged out of TRICARE.


Here is a look at what medical coverage is available for beneficiaries at various stages of life.


Prime and Select

When traveling overseas on TRICARE, you have coverage but will most likely have to pay for medical services up front and file a claim upon returning home.


For those enrolled in TRICARE Prime, if required medical services are considered “routine,” then point-of-service deductibles and copayments will apply. For those on TRICARE Select, the coverage overseas is the same as at home, but you will be responsible for any charges above the TRICARE allowable charge.


[AT TRICARE.MIL: TRICARE Prime Overseas | TRICARE Select Overseas]


Retirees and their dependents are eligible for the TRICARE Overseas Program (TOP) until they each individually “age out” of TOP on the last day of the month prior to the month of their 65th birthday.



At age 65, unless still working and covered by an employer-provided health plan (by either the retiree’s or spouse’s employer), all beneficiaries are required to enroll in Medicare Part B to retain TRICARE eligibility, in this case TRICARE For Life (TFL).


Since Medicare only provides coverage in the U.S. and its territories, Medicare Part B premium payments enable TRICARE to act as your primary medical insurance. You are responsible for the applicable deductible, cost shares (25%), and remaining billed charges.




The TFL catastrophic cap is $3,000. However, outside the U.S. and U.S. territories, there might be no limit to the amount that a nonparticipating, non-network overseas provider can bill. You are responsible for paying any amount that exceeds the TRICARE-allowable charge in addition to your deductible and cost shares.


You might be required to pay up front for care and then file claims with the TRICARE overseas claims processor (learn more at


[MOAA MEMBER BENEFIT: Travel With Peace of Mind Using Emergency Assistance Plus (EA+)]


Adding Insurance

While living overseas with TRICARE as your primary resource, users might want to consider supplemental insurance. Start looking early because it might be difficult to procure.


For those traveling overseas, consider travel medical insurance to cover these additional fees and cost shares.



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About the Author

Capt. Paul J. Frost, AFC®, USN (Ret)
Capt. Paul J. Frost, AFC®, USN (Ret)

Frost co-leads MOAA's Financial and Benefits Education program and is also an accredited Veteran Service Officer (VSO), providing VA disability compensation claim and appeal information and advice to the military community.