I know TRICARE is one of our favorite pinatas...but right now they are on my list of Thanksgiving.
Lilah (almost four months!) just had her open heart surgery and I am thanking God that if she had to have a Congenital Heart Defect, she was born while we are in the military.
I've always made sure I had health insurance. When I was a teacher and DH was a lawyer, we used mine as it was excellent. Low co-pays, lots of options, easy to understand, etc.
Still, it would not have stacked up to TRICARE in this situation.
We had the best care, all the medications she needed, as comfortable as a hospital stay as I could imagine, and we spent a total of thirteen dollars and change. In fact, we would have paid zero but since we were being discharged on a Saturday afternoon, we would not have made it to a military pharmacy in time to pick up a few medications she needed coming home.
No co-pays (except those most recent meds I mentioned), no catastrophic deductibles, nada.
Even better, the only paperwork we ever had to fill out was some short forms when we checked her in. Apparently we will have to fill out paperwork to get reimbursed for mileage and per diem if we decided to request that--but that seems fair enough.
Best of all, her cardiologist is world class (literally, he travels all over the world helping children). He and the rest of the Lackland Wilford Hall pediatric cardiology team come up to Fort Hood to see the heart patients so we don't have to travel to them.
He picked the date for her surgery so she could have her excellent surgeon, who also does humanitarian work. If we did not have an excellent Surgeon in San Antonio, her cardiologist would have flown her to any of the top hospitals in the United States. And we would not have paid a dime. Not one red cent.
Perhaps this is the least the country can do for the baby of a soldier who was deployed in support of OIF III (or any servicemember, for that matter).
I also have not always had such smooth experiences with the military medical care system. Getting an appointment can be very frustrating and the Byzantine labyrinth of regulations is no walk in the park. There are a few doctors here I now know to avoid like the plague.
However, TRICARE came through for me when it really counted.
Right now, I for one am very thankful that we have TRICARE.