What is TRICARE and Healthcare Coverage for Military and Veteran Families?

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What is TRICARE and Healthcare Coverage for Military and Veteran Families?

military member with dog tags, TRICARETRICARE is the Military’s Health Insurance Program

About Healthcare Coverage for Military and Veteran Families

For those protecting our rights and freedoms by serving in the military, there's often nothing more important than the health and well-being of your family. Whether you're an active service member, a military veteran, or a military spouse, it’s critical to know what kinds of healthcare resources are available to you and your loved ones. Here are a few ways that you can find the answers you need to some of the most common healthcare-related questions.

Disclaimer: The advice provided in this article covers only a small number of questions that military and veteran families may have. If you’re looking for an answer to a question concerning any topic not seen here, please feel free to contact us.

What Kinds of Healthcare Does the Military Cover?

Physical and mental health is important to both veterans and active duty service members. A range of healthcare programs are available to ensure adequate healthcare coverage for active or retired service members.

More About TRICARE?

TRICARE is the military's health insurance program. Managed by the Defense Health Agency, the program provides comprehensive coverage for active and retired service members and their families. TRICARE covers:

  • Health plans. All healthcare programs covered by TRICARE meet or exceed the minimum coverage required by the Affordable Care Act (see section below for more details). Different plans are available to meet the different needs of military service members: TRICARE Prime, TRICARE Overseas, TRICARE For Life, TRICARE Retired, TRICARE Reserve, TRICARE Young Adult, and US Family Plan to name a few.
  • Prescriptions. Most prescription drugs are covered by TRICARE; however, there are exceptions. For it to be covered by TRICARE, the drug must be approved by the FDA, and it must be medically or psychologically necessary for the treatment of a covered diagnosis.
  • Special programs. Certain health conditions allow beneficiaries to make use of TRICARE’s special programs. These can include mental health care, hospice care, cancer trials, home health care, and skilled nursing care.
  • Dental and vision. Diagnoses, eye exams, surgery, and more may be covered under TRICARE. Coverage may vary depending on which health plan you're enrolled in, as well as your age.

TRICARE Coverage in 2018

TRICARE underwent a number of significant changes in 2018, with more still to occur in the years to come. Here's what has already changed and what you should watch out for:

  • Costs are changing. October 2018 marks the period where out-of-pocket costs will adjust for TRICARE’s premium programs, which include Reserve Select, Retired Reserve, Young Adult, and the Continued Health Care Benefit Program.
  • New dental and vision programs. Coverage for TRICARE Retiree Dental Program (TRDP) will end on December 31, 2018. The newly formed Federal Employees Dental and Vision Program (FEDVIP) will take its place in 2019.

TRICARE underwent numerous other changes this year that could affect military and veteran families. From copays and other cost changes to how you access urgent care, you can read more here.

What is the Affordable Care Act, and How Can It Affect My Coverage?

The Affordable Care Act (sometimes called Obamacare or ACA) was created in 2010 to make healthcare more readily available and affordable. But while US healthcare as a whole saw many changes as a result of the ACA, TRICARE beneficiaries and veterans with Veterans Affairs health benefits are not affected; your benefits or your out-of-pocket costs won't change.

For more information, visit the Veterans Health Administration website here.

What if I Move?

Military and veteran families can move frequently. Let your doctor or medical professional know as soon as you're able so that there are no interruptions in your healthcare coverage.

Read additional articles for military members and veterans:
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Military Mom Mourns Daughters Death
A Week of Sports for Disabled Veterans In Colorado


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