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Understanding Your Military Health Insurance Benefits Through Tricare

Lewis Mark Published: April 22, 2019 Updated: April 22, 2019

Waving American flag at military parade

Formerly known as the state’s Civilian Health and Medical Program of the Uniformed Services, Tricare refers to a health care program of the military department. The military health insurance offers civilian health benefits for the Armed Forces, military retirees, and their beneficiaries. The health care program is also referred to as the civilian care docket of the Military Health System.

What is Tricare?

Tricare is a viable health program that caters to people from the military department. The Defense Health Agency manages this health care program. Initially, the Tricare Management Activity managed the program under the tenure of the Assistant Secretary of Defense. The program covers services that are necessary medically.

A Brief History

Historically, military personnel, as well as their dependents, received health care from medical facilities via a referral system. Military physicians weren’t available to offer their services to a particular group of patients. As such, individuals participating in active duty military always had priority for care in the military facilities.

Eligibility And Other Coverage Factors

Tricare eligibility seeks to define those who are allowed to access military health insurance. Active members who are on duty need to enroll in Tricare Prime. Members will pay nothing out of their pocket. As such, active-duty families are allowed to register without a fee. Prime beneficiaries are also assigned an essential health care provider at the nearest military health care facility. Recipients can also select a prime care provider within the formal network.

Tricare Options

There are three levels of military health insurance. There are also three types of coverage namely pharmacy benefits, life insurance, as well as dental benefits. These health benefits are often administered in treatment centers. However, there are civilian providers too.

Tricare Standard

Tricare Standard offers health care benefits that are similar to the CHAMPUS program. The program is accessible to those who have retired from the Active Component, Reserve Component, and their beneficiaries. Additionally, Tricare Standard is available to Reservist as well as their families. Beneficiaries should pay for the annual deductible as well as coinsurance.

Tricare Extra

Tricare Extra refers to a health care plan that allows beneficiaries to select from any health care provider who is involved in the Tricare network. It is a fee-for-service health care cover.

Currently, this health care cover is accessible to individuals who live in the US. However, active members who are in the military forces can’t enroll in the health care program.

Tricare Prime

Tricare Prime refers to a health insurance program plan provided to active duty members, reserve members, families, in addition to retirees. Under the Tricare eligibility, those who are on active duty need to enroll in this health insurance since it is administered at a slightly lower cost. However, health insurance for veterans offers less freedom for health care providers.

Tricare Reserve Select (TRS)

TRS refers to a premium health plan created for Selected Reserve individuals as well as their dependents. Beneficiaries must meet particular eligibility requirements. Under the Affordable Care Act, this health care coverage is also called minimum essential coverage. Members shouldn’t be on active duty.

Tricare Reserve Retired (TRR)

It refers to a premium-based cover for health that’s eligible to retired individuals of the National Guard and Reserve. Individuals can purchase it below 60 years old. Members of their families can benefit from this health insurance for veterans plan. Retired members of the Component Reserve who choose to purchase TRR have to pay 100% of the cost of the plan.

Tricare For Life (TFL)

Initially incorporated in May 2001 as one of the seven regional Managed Care Contracts, Tricare for Life was passed by Congress in a bid to respond to the rising complaints of beneficiaries regarding the high cost of Medicare. Prior to Tricare for Life, beneficiaries lost their coverage upon gaining Medicare eligibility at the age of 65.

Tricare Young Adult (TYA)

Tricare Young Adult refers to a premium-based plan that’s available for purchase by a qualified dependent that has outgrown Tricare particularly between age 21 and 23 when it comes to full-time college students. These dependants are entitled to the cover if they aren’t married. However, they aren’t eligible for Tricare coverage or employer-sponsored coverage.

Tricare Supplement

Besides the listed options of Tricare civilian health benefits, military retirees are allowed to opt for a supplemental Tricare plan which was designed to assist military retirees to save money on the unexpected expenses that haven’t been covered by Tricare. Some of the immediate costs that can be alleviated by Tricare supplement are such as specialist beneficiaries and sudden illnesses.

Contact Tricare

The Tricare headquarters manage a comprehensive health care provision system in three main regions in the US. In many cases, one should call their regional contractor initially. www.Tricare.mil is the official website of the health agency in charge of administering this health care coverage.