This article by Patricia Kime is part of MOAA’s TRICARE Toolkit, which provides insight and tips for navigating your TRICARE benefits. Have a question or suggestion for an upcoming article? Email email@example.com. Read other TRICARE Toolkit columns at MOAA.org/tricaretoolkit.
After more than two years of travel restrictions, Americans are returning to the roadways, train tracks, and skies. While COVID-19 remains a concern, other illnesses and accidents can happen on travel.
While all TRICARE programs vary slightly, here are some basics to ensure you have health coverage for your trip.
The Defense Health Agency recommends TRICARE beneficiaries who plan to travel get routine care before they leave home. Traveling patients must notify their primary care contractor or their TRICARE regional contractor within 24 hours of going to a hospital regardless of if they are admitted.
For non-emergency illnesses or accidents, Prime patients have several options for treatment in the U.S., beginning with the Nurse Advice Line, at 1-800-874-2273. They also have access to the TRICARE network of urgent care centers without a referral. Beneficiaries can check with the regional contractor for a network urgent care facility.
[AT TRICARE.MIL: Provider Directories]
Prescriptions can be filled at a TRICARE network pharmacy or a military pharmacy. If these options are not available, they may be filled at non network pharmacies. Retain copies of receipts; additional expenses may warrant filing a claim.
Beneficiaries who use TRICARE Select and are traveling in the U.S. should go to a hospital in an emergency, but they can see any TRICARE authorized provider for illnesses or injury. Patients can save money by seeing a network provider, found on the respective TRICARE contractor websites.
TRICARE recommends keeping all receipts and bills, as patients may need to file a claim for reimbursement.
Like their fellow TRICARE Prime patients, TRICARE Select beneficiaries can fill prescriptions at any nearby U.S. military pharmacy overseas, at a network pharmacy if they are in a U.S. territory, or a non-network pharmacy.
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TRICARE For Life
The Defense Health Agency recommends anyone using TRICARE for Life and traveling in the U.S. or its territories should see a TRICARE-authorized provider, found via TRICARE.mil/findadoctor. They can also contact Medicare at 1-800-633-4227 to locate a provider that takes Medicare. Medicare does not cover health care outside the U.S., so TRICARE will be the primary payer.
For TFL beneficiaries, there may be deductibles and cost shares for overseas care. Patients may have to pay up front; keep all receipts to file claims.
Have More Questions About Your Health Care Benefit?
MOAA's 2021-2022 TRICARE Guide answers some commonly asked questions.