Military Advantage

GAO Finds Tricare Accessibility Issues

The Government Accountability Office found that only 60 percent of civilian medical providers are willing to accept Tricare Standard beneficiaries (beneficiaries which are not enrolled in Tricare Prime). This is especially troubling since Tricare will be forcing over 150,000 Tricare Prime enrolled beneficiaries into Tricare Standard in October.

The GAO report cites a survey of civilian health care providers, which indicated that in specific geographic areas non-enrolled beneficiaries have experienced considerable access problems. Although nearly all civilian care providers in these areas were accepting new patients, less than half were accepting new Tricare patients. These problem areas include Texas and California.

The report also states that the most-cited reason for not accepting new Tricare patients was that the civilian providers were not aware of the Tricare program. However, the GAO summary states that in geographical areas with the most problems, like Texas and California, civilian providers most often cited reimbursement concerns as the reason for not accepting any new Tricare patients.

In addition to difficulty finding a health care provider, many military retirees  may also find the quality of service is less than satisfactory. A survey by the Department of Health and Human Services found that people using the Medicare fee-for-service program were happier with their care than Tricare Standard beneficiaries.

Read the GAO’s report on TRICARE Accessibility Problems.

Let your elected officials know how you feel about this issue.

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