3 FAQs on TRICARE Supplement Every Military Retiree Should Know

Doctor checking piggy bank with stethoscope

Approximately 5.29 million military retirees and family members worldwide are eligible for TRICARE health insurance. Of these, 2.55 million retirees are using TRICARE, 950,000 of which are using TRICARE Standard. While TRICARE Standard is a comprehensive insurance plan and allows for more flexible healthcare options, it does not cover every expense a military retiree may encounter. TRICARE Supplement insurance is a worthwhile investment for TRICARE Standard holders who are seeking to reduce out of pocket costs that are left behind by TRICARE. Here are answers to three commonly asked questions that military retirees may have regarding TRICARE Supplement insurance:

1. Who can benefit from TRICARE Supplement?

TRICARE Supplement plans are particularly beneficial to military retirees and their families who utilize TRICARE Standard as their primary insurance plan. Since TRICARE Standard is a 75/25 plan, retirees with the Standard plan can tremendously benefit from a supplement.

In the event of an accident or serious illness, retirees with TRICARE Standard may be subject to unexpected out-of-pocket costs for specialists, surgeries, hospital stays, and more. A TRICARE supplement plan can alleviate these costly expenses and help buffer military retiree families from the high costs of unexpected health issues that may arise in the future.

Additionally, many find that TRICARE Standard is much more convenient than TRICARE Prime. A retiree with a supplement can have 100% coverage while enjoying the flexibility of a Standard plan.

2. What are some TRICARE Supplement benefits?

As TRICARE prescription copayments increase, the reimbursement amount with a supplement plan also increases to remove the burden of higher medical expenses. Some out-of-pocket cost shares are also paid for, depending on the type of TRICARE you hold. Doctor and hospital cost shares are alleviated as well. A TRICARE supplement plan provides holders with the flexibility of choosing any TRICARE authorized provider just about anywhere in the world.

3. Why is TRICARE Supplement important?

Simply put, it's better to be safe than sorry. TRICARE Supplement gives military retirees and their families the peace of mind that they are protected financially regardless of what type of health care costs they encounter in their lives. The financial risk associated with a serious accident or illness is high and can destroy a family's financial situation. TRICARE Supplement allows retirees to take control of their financial futures by preparing themselves for any medical obstacle or unforeseen change in their TRICARE plan that may come their way.

TRICARE Supplement Resources: TRICARE

Retirees should also check with any Military Service Organization that they are members of. Many offer reduced rates for TRICARE supplement plans.


Ted Painter is a retired US Army Officer and currently works with legislators and several national organizations to promote the interests of our retired US military.

Related Topics

Veteran Benefits TRICARE