Knowledge Center

TRICARE Health Insurance Program

 TRICARE is a health care program of the United States Department of Defense Military Health System. The program was formerly known as the Civilian Health and Medical Program of the Uniformed Services (CHAMPUS). TRICARE is the civilian care component of the Military Health System. The insurance program aims at providing civilian health benefits for military personnel, military retirees and their dependents, including some members of the Reserve Component

TRICARE is one of the most comprehensive, affordable health coverage with several health plan options. Additionally, it also offers special programs and demonstrations for some beneficiaries for specific health care needs such as cancer treatment or chiropractic care. The standard coverage offered by the program for all the beneficiaries includes:

  • Outpatient visits
  • Hospitalization
  • Preventive services
  • Maternity care
  • Immunizations
  • Mental/Behavioral health

TRICARE offers 9 different health plan options to suit individual requirements. The plans include - TRICARE Prime (Enrollment required), TRICARE Prime Remote (Enrollment required), TRICARE Prime Overseas (Enrollment required), TRICARE Prime Remote Overseas (Enrollment required), TRICARE Standard and Extra, US Family Health Plan (Enrollment required), TRICARE for Life, TRICARE Standard Overseas, TRICARE Reserve Select (Must qualify and purchase) and TRICARE Retired Reserve (Must qualify and purchase). It also offers 3 different dental based plans.

Of all the different plans - TRICARE Standard & Extra are most flexible plans. The main features of these plans include: Facility to visit any TRICARE-authorized provider (network or non-network), scheduling appointments as per the convenience, no referrals; authorization required for some services, payment of small percentage of the total cost (cost share), the beneficiary has to file his or her own claim. However, the plan is not available for active duty service members.


Duty Service Members

No enrollment fees or copayments for any plan.

Active Duty Family Members

$0 at military treatment facilities No enrollment fees or copayments when enrolled in TRICARE Prime. Low cost-shares when using TRICARE Standard and Extra.

Retired Service Members   Families

$0 at military treatment facilities Low annual enrollment fees for TRICARE Prime ($260/individual or $460 per family) Minimal network copayments (ranges from $12-$30) Low cost-shares when using TRICARE Standard and Extra

The TRICARE program is managed by TRICARE Management Activity (TMA) under the authority of the Assistant Secretary of Defense (Health Affairs). Historically the plan also included health care delivered in the military medical treatment facilities. The TRICARE management activity contracts with several large health insurance corporations to provide claims processing, customer service and other administrative functions to the TRICARE program. TMA also oversees the TRICARE Dental Program (TDP), run by United Concordia, and TRICARE Retiree Dental Program (TRDP), run by Delta Dental.

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