Summertime is the season of PCSing and experiencing the family vacation. But everyone knows that when military families are away from home or in transition to a new home, all hell will break loose and someone will need to go to the hospital. Go figure! It may be a twisted ankle on a cousin’s trampoline or a snake bite during a camping trip to the Grand Canyon. But broken bones, allergic reactions and freak accidents don’t take a vacation during the summer months.
Lucky for active-duty military families, we are covered by Tricare no matter where our travels take us. Tricare coverage travels with us, as long as you follow their basic guidelines.
Here is what you need to know for traveling with Tricare Prime & Standard:
Emergency Care: Prime and Standard beneficiaries follow the same procedures. Simply contact your PCM the next business day following an ER visit. As always, keep ER visits for true emergencies.
Urgent Care: Prime: A referral is required when going to an urgent care. You’ll also want to try to locate an in-network provider. If you are unable to get ahold of your PCM or find an in-network urgent care, contact Tricare for assistance. Be sure to contact your PCM to coordinate the referral so you aren’t stuck footing the bill. Yes, they can back date referrals.
Standard: You are able to visit any Tricare provider or really any provider. It will be less if you seek treatment from an in-network provider. No referral required.
Prescriptions: Prime and Standard: Should you need medicine following an ER or urgent care visit you are able to use any pharmacy which accepts Tricare. Of course the cost may vary depending on if you are given generic or name brand. You’ll also need to have your military ID card.
Other: Before traveling, make sure your information is up-to-date in DEERS. Otherwise there could be issues with claims and payments. Make sure that any claims filed are sent to your normal Tricare region, not the region in which you are visiting. Be sure to hold onto receipts in case there is an issue with billing.
Routine care is not covered while traveling. Have your annual physical scheduled before leaving for your vacation or at your new duty station.
Active duty service members are supposed to receive all non-emergency medical care at a MTF if one is available. Otherwise a referral will be needed. If emergency care is needed, service members may visit an ER.
Of course you should contact Tricare if you have any questions about receiving medical care while on the road. But at least it’s comforting to know that you’re covered wherever your travels may take you. So enjoy the summer and your adventures!
Check out these resources for more information about traveling with Tricare:
Are you a seasoned traveler with Tricare travel tips? Share them with us!