What Is Tricare?

If you’re active duty military or a veteran, you’re eligible for Tricare. Learn how this coverage can help you unlock incredible savings for you and your family when it comes to your health insurance.

FirstQuote Health Staff
Published on
January 19, 2023
Last Updated on
November 8, 2023
Hands waving tiny American flags at a parade

Formerly known as the state’s Civilian Health and Medical Program of the Uniformed Services, Tricare refers to a health care program of the military department. The military health insurance offers civilian health benefits for the Armed Forces, military retirees, and their beneficiaries. The health care program is also referred to as the civilian care docket of the Military Health System.

What is Tricare?

Tricare is a health insurance program provided by the U.S. Department of Defense for active duty military members, their families, and retirees enrolled in Tricare Prime and Tricare Select. It offers a range of coverage options, including basic health care coverage and various prescription drug plans, as well as overseas operational support, dental benefits, long-term care services, and survivor benefits. With Tricare, eligible beneficiaries receive access to a network of providers that are specifically certified by the government to provide health care services at reduced cost.

Tricare has been around since 1966 when it was first introduced in order to provide health care coverage for active duty members of the U.S. military and their families. Over time, the program has expanded significantly to include additional services, such as dental and long-term care services, and an expanded network of providers across the United States. Today, Tricare covers over nine million people who receive access to quality health care at reduced cost.

Does CVS Take Tricare?

Yes, CVS accepts Tricare insurance. Many CVS pharmacies offer a variety of services that are covered by Tricare, including prescriptions, preventive care, and immunizations. Furthermore, many CVS locations also have Tricare providers available to help members with their healthcare needs. Accessing these benefits is easy: simply present your Tricare identification card at the pharmacy counter when making purchases.

Does Walgreens Take Tricare?

Yes, Walgreens accepts Tricare insurance. Many Walgreens pharmacies offer a variety of services that are covered by Tricare, including prescription medications, preventive care, and immunizations. Additionally, many Walgreens locations have Tricare providers available to assist members with their health care needs. To access these benefits simply present your Tricare identification card at the pharmacy counter when making purchases.

Who is Eligible for Tricare?

Tricare is a health benefits program sponsored by the Department of Defense for active duty, retired military personnel and their families. In order to be eligible for Tricare, individuals must first meet certain eligibility requirements, such as having served in the United States military or being married to someone who has served, among others. Eligible individuals can then enroll in one of the available Tricare plans offered by the Department of Defense.

Tricare eligibility seeks to define those who are allowed to access military health insurance. Active members who are on duty need to enroll in Tricare Prime. Members will pay nothing out of their pocket. As such, active-duty families are allowed to register without a fee. Prime beneficiaries are also assigned an essential health care provider at the nearest military health care facility. Recipients can also select a prime care provider within the formal network.

Does Tricare Cover Chiropractic?

Tricare does cover chiropractic care. In order to be eligible for chiropractic care under Tricare, patients must receive a referral from an authorized provider such as a doctor or nurse. Chiropractic services are covered at 80 percent after the deductible is met, and there are no annual limits for beneficiaries. However, some services may not be covered depending on the specific plan and coverage area.

Does Tricare Cover Dental?

Tricare does cover dental services for eligible beneficiaries. Dental care includes preventative care, basic services such as fillings, and major services such as dentures and bridges. The extent of coverage depends on the specific plan chosen and the area in which it is offered. For instance, some plans may cover 100% of preventive care while others may offer only a set amount per year.

Does Tricare Cover Therapy?

Tricare does cover certain types of therapy services. Therapies can include speech-language pathology, occupational therapy, physical therapy, and psychiatric care. The extent of coverage for each type of therapy depends on the plan chosen and may include co-payments or deductibles. In some cases, therapies such as physical therapy and occupational therapy may be subject to annual limits as well.

Does Tricare Cover Abortion?

Tricare does not cover abortions, except in very rare cases of rape, incest, or a threat to the mother’s life. Even then, special authorization from Tricare is required for coverage. Another exception is when the fetus has been diagnosed with an abnormality that is incompatible with life. In these cases, Tricare will make payment for the abortion procedure and related care.

Does Tricare Cover Braces?

Tricare does provide coverage for orthodontic services such as braces for dependent children, but only in certain cases. Braces may be covered when medically necessary due to certain injuries, congenital deformities or the correction of abnormal jaw growth. Tricare will cover up to $1,800 per beneficiary per lifetime and requires that a pre-determination of benefits be obtained prior to treatment.

Does tricare Cover Hearing Aids?

Tricare provides coverage for hearing aids in certain cases, but requires prior authorization from Tricare. The coverage is dependent on whether the request is deemed medically necessary based on an audiogram and the beneficiary’s medical diagnosis or condition. Coverage will be up to $3,100 per beneficiary per lifetime and an application for pre-determination of benefits must be submitted prior to treatment.

Does Tricare Cover Invisalign?

Tricare does provide coverage for Invisalign aligners, but only in certain cases. The coverage is dependent on whether the request is deemed medically necessary and requires prior authorization from Tricare. Coverage will be up to $1,800 per beneficiary per lifetime and an application for pre-determination of benefits must be submitted prior to treatment.

Does Tricare Cover Dermatology?

Tricare provides coverage for dermatology services in certain cases, but requires prior authorization from Tricare. The coverage is dependent on whether the request is deemed medically necessary and can include outpatient treatment, such as office visits, skin surgeries, biopsies, and treatments for acne or warts. Coverage will be up to $1,000 per beneficiary per lifetime and an application for pre-determination of benefits must be submitted prior to treatment.

Does Tricare Cover Urgent Care?

Yes, Tricare covers urgent care services. These include diagnosis and treatment of minor illnesses and injuries, such as colds, flu, earaches, rashes, sprains and strains. Urgent care is typically provided by walk-in clinics or urgent care centers. Depending on the provider, Tricare may cover up to 100 percent of the costs for these services if authorized in advance.

What Does Tricare Not Cover?

Tricare does not cover a variety of services and supplies, including experimental treatments, long-term care in nursing homes, private-duty nursing or at-home health services. It also does not provide coverage for cosmetic surgery, routine physical exams or immunizations for adult beneficiaries over the age of 21. Additionally, Tricare does not pay for any medical expenses incurred outside of the United States.

Is Tricare Medicare?

Tricare is not the same as Medicare. Tricare is a military health insurance program that provides comprehensive coverage for active duty, retired military members, and their dependents. It covers services such as doctor’s visits, hospitalizations, laboratory tests, outpatient and inpatient care from civilian medical facilities, prescription medications and more. Medicare is a federal health insurance program that primarily provides coverage for the elderly and certain disability populations.

Tricare Options

There are three levels of military health insurance. There are also three types of coverage namely pharmacy benefits, life insurance, as well as dental benefits. These health benefits are often administered in treatment centers. However, there are civilian providers too.

Tricare Standard

Tricare Standard offers health care benefits that are similar to the CHAMPUS program. The program is accessible to those who have retired from the Active Component, Reserve Component, and their beneficiaries. Additionally, Tricare Standard is available to Reservist as well as their families. Beneficiaries should pay for the annual deductible as well as coinsurance.

Tricare Extra

Tricare Extra refers to a health care plan that allows beneficiaries to select from any health care provider who is involved in the Tricare network. It is a fee-for-service health care cover.

Currently, this health care cover is accessible to individuals who live in the US. However, active members who are in the military forces can’t enroll in the health care program.

Tricare Prime

Tricare Prime refers to a health insurance program plan provided to active duty members, reserve members, families, in addition to retirees. Under the Tricare eligibility, those who are on active duty need to enroll in this health insurance since it is administered at a slightly lower cost. However, health insurance for veterans offers less freedom for health care providers.

Tricare Reserve Select (TRS)

TRS refers to a premium health plan created for Selected Reserve individuals as well as their dependents. Beneficiaries must meet particular eligibility requirements. Under the Affordable Care Act, this health care coverage is also called minimum essential coverage. Members shouldn’t be on active duty.

Tricare Reserve Retired (TRR)

It refers to a premium-based cover for health that’s eligible to retired individuals of the National Guard and Reserve. Individuals can purchase it below 60 years old. Members of their families can benefit from this health insurance for veterans plan. Retired members of the Component Reserve who choose to purchase TRR have to pay 100% of the cost of the plan.

What Is Tricare For Life?

Tricare For Life (TFL) is a supplemental health insurance offered to eligible retired military personnel and their families. It serves as the primary payer after Medicare has paid its portion of expenses and allows members to access care at military treatment facilities. TFL also covers certain out-of-pocket costs such as deductibles, coinsurance, and copayments for both Medicare-covered services and services not covered by Original Medicare.

Initially incorporated in May 2001 as one of the seven regional Managed Care Contracts, Tricare for Life was passed by Congress in a bid to respond to the rising complaints of beneficiaries regarding the high cost of Medicare. Prior to Tricare for Life, beneficiaries lost their coverage upon gaining Medicare eligibility at the age of 65.

Tricare Young Adult (TYA)

Tricare Young Adult refers to a premium-based plan that’s available for purchase by a qualified dependent that has outgrown Tricare particularly between age 21 and 23 when it comes to full-time college students. These dependants are entitled to the cover if they aren’t married. However, they aren’t eligible for Tricare coverage or employer-sponsored coverage.

Tricare Supplement

Besides the listed options of Tricare civilian health benefits, military retirees are allowed to opt for a supplemental Tricare plan which was designed to assist military retirees to save money on the unexpected expenses that haven’t been covered by Tricare. Some of the immediate costs that can be alleviated by Tricare supplement are such as specialist beneficiaries and sudden illnesses.

Can You Have Tricare and Other Insurance?

Yes, it is possible to have Tricare and other insurance at the same time. However, Tricare must be listed as your primary insurance and will pay claims first. Other insurance may pay any remaining balance after Tricare pays its share of a covered or eligible expense. It’s important to keep records of your health care expenses so you can report them to both insurers when necessary.

Contact Tricare

The Tricare headquarters manage a comprehensive health care provision system in three main regions in the US. In many cases, one should call their regional contractor initially. is the official website of the health agency in charge of administering this health care coverage.

If you want to know more about Tricare or other health insurance plans, call 858-295-3448 to speak to an insurance agent or enter your zip code on FirstQuote Health to get a quote!

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