TRICARE Benefits Overview

TRICARE Logo
TRICARE Logo

Do you understand your TRICARE benefits? Do you know if you are enrolled in the TRICARE coverage plan that best suits your family's needs? Are you completely confused by all the TRICARE coverage options, co-pays, deductibles, and acronyms?

If so you are not alone, our surveys have found that most servicemembers and their families are confused by TRICARE. The fact is, TRICARE is an enormous and very complex health care system.

We can help clarify many of your questions and concerns. You owe it to yourself and your family to find out as much as you can about TRICARE before making any decisions! The following provides a summary of this complex program:

TRICARE for Active Duty Members and their Families

  • TRICARE Prime - TRICARE Prime is a managed care option available worldwide. TRICARE Prime offers fewer out-of-pocket costs than TRICARE Standard and Extra, but less freedom of choice for providers.
  • TRICARE Extra - TRICARE Extra requires you to choose a network provider within the TRICARE network. It is a fee-for-service option that gives beneficiaries the opportunities to see TRICARE network provider.
  • TRICARE Standard - TRICARE Standard provides the most flexibility to eligible beneficiaries. It is a fee-for-service option that gives beneficiaries the opportunities to see any TRICARE-authorized provider

TRICARE for Reservists & Guard Members and their Families

If you are a member (or family member) of the Active Reserve or Guard you may be eligible for different TRICARE programs based on your duty status or location.

  • TRICARE Reserve Select - The TRICARE Reserve Select program is a premium based health insurance plan that is available worldwide. It is available for qualified members of the Selected Reserve and their families. 
  • TRICARE for Activated Reserve/Guard Members - If you are activated on Federal orders for more than 30 days, you and your family are eligible for TRICARE Prime, TRICARE Extra, or TRICARE Standard.
  • TRICARE Retired Reserve - Retired Reserve Component members and their family members are eligible for the TRICARE Retired Reserve plan until they reach age 60.

TRICARE Overseas Programs

If you are stationed or live overseas you may be eligible for different TRICARE Programs than people stationed INCONUS, you may be eligible for:

  • TRICARE Standard Overseas - TRICARE Standard Overseas is similar to the TRICARE Standard program offered stateside, including cost-shares and deductibles. Active duty family members living overseas with their sponsors, who have relocated with service sponsored/funded orders, may choose TRICARE Standard Overseas.
  • TRICARE Prime Overseas - TRICARE Prime Overseas is similar to the TRICARE Prime program offered stateside, including cost-shares and deductibles. The program serves Active Duty members, activated reserve & guard members, and their command sponsored dependents.
  • TRICARE Prime Remote Overseas - TRICARE Prime Remote Overseas is a TRICARE Prime option offered in designated remote overseas locations for active duty service members and their families. The program is similar to TRICARE Prime Overseas but you will receive most, if not all of your care from foreign providers.
  • TRICARE Reserve Select - The TRICARE Reserve Select program is a premium based health insurance plan that is available worldwide. It is available for qualified members of the Selected Reserve and their families. 
  • TRICARE Retired Reserve - Retired Reserve Component members and their family members are eligible for the TRICARE Retired Reserve plan until they reach age 60.
  • TRICARE For Life -  Medicare does not provide coverage outside the United States or U.S. territories . Therefore, TRICARE For Life is your primary payer for health care received in all other overseas locations.
  • TRICARE Young Adult - TRICARE Young Adult is an option for unmarried, adult children who have "aged out" of regular TRICARE coverage.

TRICARE for Retirees

TRICARE offers many health benefits for you and your family after you leave the military service, some of these work in conjunction with Medicare.

  • TRICARE For Life - TRICARE For Life is a Medicare wraparound coverage for TRICARE beneficiaries who have Medicare Part A and Medicare Part B, regardless of age or place of residence.
  • TRICARE Retired Reserve - Retired Reserve Component members and their family members are eligible for the TRICARE Retired Reserve plan until they reach age 60.
  • TRICARE Retiree Dental - The TRICARE Retiree Dental Program was authorized by Congress to provide a basic dental program for Uniformed Services retirees and their family members
  • MEDICARE - Medicare provides health insurance for Americans aged 65 and older who have worked and paid into the system.
  • TRICARE Pharmacy Pilot Program - TRICARE has implemented a Pharmacy Pilot Program for all TRICARE For Life recipients living in the US and territories. This program requires you to to fill select maintenance medications via TRICARE Pharmacy Home Delivery or use a military pharmacy instead of using retail pharmacies.

TRICARE for Older Children

Children can still be eligible for TRICARE after they move away from home.

  • TRICARE Young Adult - TRICARE Young Adult is an option for unmarried, adult children who have "aged out" of regular TRICARE coverage.

TRICARE Dental Benefits

TRICARE offers 3 different dental programs that will cover all your dental needs.

  • TRICARE Active Duty Dental Program - The TRICARE Active Duty Dental Programis available for either active duty members who are referred for care by a military dental treatment facility to the civilian dental community or have a duty location and residence more than 50 miles from a military dental treatment facility.
  • TRICARE Dental Program - The TRICARE Dental Plan is a voluntary dental insurance program. The dental benefit is available to eligible active duty family members, eligible National Guard and Reserve members and their family members
  • TRICARE Retiree Dental - The TRICARE Retiree Dental Program was authorized by Congress to provide a basic dental program for Uniformed Services retirees and their family members

TRICARE Pharmacy Benefits

  • TRICARE Pharmacy Program - The TRICARE Pharmacy Program provides the prescription drugs you need, when you need them, in a safe, easy, and cost-effective manner.
  • TRICARE Pharmacy Pilot Program - TRICARE has implemented a Pharmacy Pilot Program for all TRICARE For Life recipients living in the US and territories. This program requires you to to fill select maintenance medications via TRICARE Pharmacy Home Delivery or use a military pharmacy instead of using retail pharmacies.

TRICARE Vision Benefits

TRICARE vision benefits vary depending on beneficiary status (i.e., active duty service member, active duty family member, retired service member or retired family member).

  • TRICARE Vision Benefits - Some TRICARE programs offer free or reduced price eye examinations and corrective lenses.  

Related Topics

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