What is TRICARE?

An Introduction to TRICARE In response to the challenge of maintaining medical combat readiness while providing the best health care for all eligible personnel, the Department of Defense introduced TRICARE. TRICARE is a regionally managed health care program for active duty and retired members of the uniformed services, their families, and survivors. TRICARE brings together the health care resources of the Army, Navy and Air Force and supplements them with networks of civilian health care professionals to provide better access and high quality service while maintaining the capability to support military operations. TRICARE is being implemented throughout the U.S., Europe, Latin America and the Pacific as a way to: Improve overall access to health care for beneficiaries Provide faster, more convenient access to civilian health care Create a more efficient way to receive health care Offer enhanced services, including preventive care Provide choices for health care Control escalating costs.

Who is Eligible for TRICARE?
TRICARE is available to active duty service members and retirees of the seven uniformed services, their family members, survivors and others who are registered in the Defense Enrollment Eligibility Reporting System (DEERS).

TRICARE is also available to National Guard/Reserve members and their families. Benefits will vary depending on the sponsor's military status.

What Are My TRICARE Options?

The TRICARE program offers a triple-option health care plan:

TRICARE Prime is the managed care option offered by the Department of Defense. It integrates military and civilian health care into a single health care system. Beneficiaries who choose this option agree to a one-year enrollment, and select a Primary Care Manager (PCM) to provide or arrange for their health care needs. The TRICARE Prime option offers additional wellness and preventive care services.

TRICARE Standard is a fee-for-service option that is the same as the former CHAMPUS benefit. Beneficiaries using this option have the greatest choice of civilian providers, but at a higher cost. The beneficiary is responsible for a deductible, plus co-payments. Enrollment isn’t required to participate.

TRICARE Extra is similar to TRICARE Standard but offers discounts to patients when they use TRICARE network providers. This option allows beneficiaries to receive their care from civilian network providers at a reduced cost compared to TRICARE Standard. There are no claim forms to file-just pay your reduced co-payment after satisfying the deductible. You may use a combination of the TRICARE Extra and Standard programs at any time, depending on whether you choose providers inside or outside the network. Enrollment isn’t required to participate.

Family Member Dental Plan

The TRICARE Family Member Dental Plan (TFMDP) is a comprehensive dental plan available to family members of active duty Uniformed Services personnel.

The TFMDP, like civilian group dental plans, covers diagnostic, preventive, restorative, endodontic, orthodontic, prosthodontic and oral surgery services from 100% to 50% depending on the type of service. Family members are eligible for the same benefits in both the CONUS and OCONUS service areas (although services may not be available or accessible in all OCONUS locations).

Enrolling in the TFMDP is voluntary. Uniformed Service members who have been on active duty for at least 30 consecutive days and intend to remain on active duty for at least 24 months can enroll their family members in the TFMDP. During inprocessing at the Reception Battalion, your sponsor will be given the opportunity to enroll in the TFMDP. You and your family may begin using services 30 days after enrollment. (Note that TFMDP is not available for USAR and ARNG soldiers on active duty for training.)

Enrolled family members in the CONUS service area can visit any licensed/authorized dentist of their choice; however, visiting a United Concordia participating dentist will save time, money, and paperwork. United Concordia has over 50,000 participating dentists, in all specialties, in their network.

United Concordia remains the sole administrator of the TFMDP, providing dental benefits for family members of active duty uniformed service personnel.

Army Emergency Relief

Army Emergency Relief (AER) is the Army's own emergency financial assistance organization and is dedicated to "Helping the Army Take Care of Its Own". AER is a private nonprofit organization incorporated in 1942 by the Secretary of War and the Army Chief of Staff. AER's sole mission is to help soldiers and their dependents.

AER funds provide emergency financial assistance to soldiers - active & retired - and their dependents when there is a valid need.

Soldiers needing emergency financial assistance should contact their chain of command to assist them in applying for emergency loans or grants. AER funds are constrained only by the requirement of valid need.

Effective 1/1/98, the American Red Cross (ARC) stopped providing emergency financial assistance (from their budget), to Soldiers and their family members. If there is an AER office within a 50 mile radius of the Soldier/family member they are required to go to that AER office. Outside the 50 mile radius, the Soldier/family member will attempt to locate an active branch of the Armed Forces (Army, USAF-Air Force Aid Society, Navy-Navy/Marine Corp Relief Society, or Coast Guard-Coast Guard Mutual Aid Society). Not having an active component in the area; then the Soldier/family member should seek assistance from the local ARC chapter.

For more information, click on the following link (external link): http://www.aerhq.org

Contacting the Redcross - Family Emergencies

Look for the Red Cross nearest you under Emergency Numbers in your phone book or visit the American Red Cross website.

If you have an emergency which requires the presence of your Soldier at home (generally, the serious illness or death of an immediate family member) the Red Cross can verify the emergency for your Soldier's supervisor or commander. The Red Cross does this by communication with other Red Cross station managers and chapter offices throughout the United States. Families should know that, when an emergency arises, they should contact their local Red Cross chapter first. The Red Cross at home will contact the doctor, hospital, etc., for the appropriate information, which will be forwarded to the Red Cross serving Fort Benning. The Red Cross will contact the Soldier, as well as the appropriate authorities here on the base.

It is important to remember that the Red Cross cannot approve or disapprove leave, nor do they recommend approval or disapproval. The Soldier's commander has the sole authority to grant leave, and that decision is based on applicable military regulations.

The Red Cross also provides reporting services for situations which are urgent, but might not necessarily require the Soldier's presence at home. The Red Cross is able to provide this service through its network of rapid communications.

Emergency Financial Assistance The Red Cross can provide assistance in obtaining interest-free loans and in certain situations, grants. The pre-requisites are: commander-approve emergency leave, funds are only for the in-CONUS portion of the Soldier's travel-related expenses, and the Soldier's emergency has been verified by the Red Cross.

Financial assistance is generally provided as an interest-free loan, which is normally repaid by allotment at terms the Soldier can afford. In certain situations, where the Soldier can not afford to repay a loan financial assistance can also be provided as a grant. While over seas, financial assistance is limited to emergency leave.

Compassionate Reassignment and Hardship Discharge The Red Cross does not have the authority to approve or disapprove compassionate reassignment or hardship discharge, nor can the Red Cross provide a statement recommending approval of the Soldier's request. However, the Red Cross can assist the Soldier in gathering the statements which he will need for his application. The Red Cross chapter in your home community can assist your family in obtaining the appropriate statements from doctors, lawyers, ministers, etc.