Tricare: Your Military Health Plan

Article excerpt

Message from the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Health Affairs

THE best military in the world deserves the best healthcare in the world. The military family--the extended family you see at each visit to a military treatment facility--knows the sacrifices you make. I am as committed to caring for military families as I am my own.

Military families are often far from home and their social-support networks of family and friends. Tricare is the only healthcare program that is founded on respect for your emotional well-being, while ensuring that you and your family get the best possible coordinated care.

When duty places families far from a military treatment facility, Tricare provides the same quality healthcare through civilian network providers. The new Tricare contracts with these civilian providers are making a strong healthcare program even better.

You and your family's needs and best interests are the focus of my decisions. Tricare's unique healthcare delivery system, using military and civilian facilities, gives you the best access to quality healthcare providers. Tricare monitors healthcare delivery in both systems to ensure that you are completely satisfied with the healthcare you receive. You are the most important part of Tricare's mission.

Currently, the separation aspects of military life are being felt throughout the armed forces. I want you to know that whenever healthcare is needed, whether it is for the service member serving overseas or the family member at home facing a difficult diagnosis alone, I am committed to providing personalized and responsive care.

You are the best military in the world, and serving you is the most important thing I do.

DR. William WINKENWERDER JR., M.D. Assistant Secretary of Defense for Health Affairs

What is Tricare

TRICARE is the health care program for active-duty Soldiers, National Guard and Army Reserve members who are activated for more than 30 days, retirees, family members and survivors of service members. Additionally, until Dec. 31, 2004, members of the Selected Reserve of the Ready Reserve, members of the Individual Ready Reserve and their families may be eligible for Tricare (see page 12.)

Managed by the military in partnership with civilian hospitals and clinics, Tricare is designed to increase patients' access to care, assure quality care and promote medical readiness. All military hospitals and clinics are part of the Tricare program.

Quality is the cornerstone of Tricare, which uses the National Practitioner Data Bank to verify education, board certification, disciplinary and other information on civilian providers. Qualified professionals and military physicians oversee the civilian credentialing process.

DEERS: Your Key to Health Benefits

THE Defense Enrollment Eligibility Reporting System is a computerized database of military sponsors, families and others who are entitled by law to Tricare benefits. DEERS registration is required for Tricare eligibility.

Active-duty, National Guard, Army Reserve and retired service members are automatically registered in DEERS, but they must take action to register their family members and ensure they're correctly entered into the database. Mistakes in the DEERS database can cause problems with Tricare claims.

Sponsors or registered family members may make address changes, but only the sponsor can add or delete a family member from DEERS, and such documents as a marriage certificate, divorce decree and/or birth certificate are required.

DEERS information can be verified by contacting the regional Tricare Managed Care Support Contractor, the local Tricare Service Center or the nearest uniformed services personnel office.

Enroll Your Newborn

ENROLLING your newborn in DEERS establishes the baby's eligibility to receive essential well-baby and pediatric care through Tricare. …