The TRICARE Prime Program

Doctor examines servicemember

TRICARE Prime is a managed care option available in Prime Service Areas worldwide. If you're on active duty you must enroll in TRICARE Prime, your family members can choose to enroll or they can use TRICARE Standard and Extra. TRICARE Prime offers fewer out-of-pocket costs than TRICARE Standard and Extra, but less freedom of choice for providers.

If you do not live in a PRIME Service Area, additional Prime options for active duty service members and their families include:

TRICARE Prime meets the requirements for minimum essential coverage under the Affordable Care Act.

TRICARE Prime Eligibility

The following groups of people are eligible for the TRICARE Prime benefit:

  • Active duty service members and their families
  • Retired service members and their families*
  • Activated Guard/Reserve members and their families
  • Non-activated Guard/Reserve members and their families who qualify for care under the Transitional Assistance Management Program
  • Retired Guard/Reserve members (age 60 and receiving retired pay) and their families*
  • Survivors
  • Medal of Honor recipients and their families
  • Qualified former spouses

*When retired service members and their families become eligible for TRICARE For Life, they are no longer able to enroll in TRICARE Prime.

How it Works

You have an assigned primary care manager (PCM) who provides most of your care. Your PCM will see you first for your health care needs. The PCM:

  • Provides and/or coordinates your care
  • Maintains your health records
  • Refers you to specialists, if necessary (To be covered, specialty care must be arranged and approved by your PCM)

Care is usually provided in a military treatment facility, but civilian clinics may be used in some cases.

TIP: TRICARE Prime members should always seek the advice of their PCM (or local MTF) before seeking medical attention from any specialists or other medical facilities.

How to Enroll

For information on how to enroll see the TRICARE Prime website

Visit our TRICARE Prime coverage page for more information including coverage and costs.

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