TriWest administers the TRICARE system in 21 western states. Last week, they sent over some interesting aticles designed to help educate military families about their healthcare benefits. After the jump, you'll find three articles:
Children's Deployment Stress May Mirror Their Parents'
TRICARE Coverage for Your College-Bound Child
Don't Leave TRICARE at Home: Traveling With TRICARE
Don't Leave TRICARE at Home
By Kristen WardTriWest Healthcare Alliance
You worked hard all year, spent time planning your vacation and are now looking forward to some time away from home, whether it be in the mountains, at the beach or overseas.While you're counting down the days until you leave and crossing off items on your to-do list, don't forget to consider your health care benefits. Sometimes, even the most meticulous planning won't prevent you or your family members from getting the most common illnesses while on vacation; such as sunburn, allergies, fever and motion sickness or accidents that may require a trip to a doctor or hospital.Here are some items to include on your to-do list before leaving for your destination.
1) Ensure the Defense Enrollment Eligibility Reporting System (DEERS) records are up-to-date in case you need care on the road. Update your family's information in DEERS by:- Logging onto the DEERS Web site at https://www.dmdc.osd.mil/appj/address/indexAction.do- Calling 1-800-538-9552 - Visiting an ID card issuing facility (locations at www.dmdc.osd.mil)- Faxing changes to 1-831-655-8317 - Mailing changes to:Defense Manpower Data Center Support OfficeAttn: COA400 Gigling RoadSeaside, CA 93955-6771
2) Visit your physician for routine care before you leave, including general office visits for treatment and ongoing care. Care must be received at your assigned military treatment facility (MTF) or primary care manager's (PCM) office.
3) Pack the prescription medicines you take every day, making sure you have enough to last during your trip. Keep them in their original prescription bottles and always in your carry-on luggage. If you need a refill before you leave, the most cost-effective way is to visit the on-base pharmacy.A second option is to use the TRICARE Mail Order Pharmacy (TMOP) program. Not only is there considerable cost savings (up to 66 percent), but you can also save yourself a trip to the pharmacy. TMOP offers up to a 90-day supply of medication for the same copayment as a 30-day supply from a retail pharmacy,. Your TMOP prescription will be delivered straight to your mailbox.
4) Pack TRICARE Prime cards, military or uniformed services ID cards and important contact information.
5) Research locations of emergency and urgent care facilities. If you need to visit, understand the emergency and urgent care guidelines. Urgent care procedures vary by location. Contact the local military treatment facility (base/post doctor) or TRICARE Service Center (TSC) before receiving care to learn how to avoid out-of-pocket costs (You cannot contact a TSC other than going in to visit the office. It might be better to suggest they call us at 1-888-TRIWESTas they can get someone 24 hours a day.)
6) If you experience an emergency while traveling, emergency care does not require prior authorization before treatment, so:- Seek emergency care immediately at the nearest hospital. - TRICARE Prime beneficiaries should notify your PCM and TriWest within 24 hours or by the next business day of any emergency room visit or admission (The patient should contact their PCM whether the ER visit was inpatient or outpatient) to avoid higher out-of-pocket costs. Contact TriWest at 1-888-TRIWEST(874-9378).
Hopefully, your vacation will be incident free. However, knowing about your benefits will give you peace of mind in case of any health care emergencies during your vacation.
Health Care U - TRICARE Coverage For Your College-bound Child
By Brian P. SmithTriWest Healthcare Alliance
College-bound dependents of active duty or retired service members can take comfort that their TRICARE coverage will make the journey with them, at home or away. For many students, this will be the first time away from home and may be the first time they have to manage their own health care decisions.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that nearly 30 percent of college-age young adults have no health insurance. Fortunately for TRICARE-eligible families, full-time students remain covered up to their 23rd birthday.
Coverage can extend past the 21st birthdayDependents usually lose eligibility for TRICARE benefits at the age of 21. However, children attending college can extend their TRICARE benefits until age 23 if the following three conditions are met:- Over 50 percent of the student's financial support is provided by the sponsor- The student remains enrolled full-time at an accredited institution- Documentation for the above is provided to a uniformed services ID card-issuing facility prior to the child's 21st birthday.
Keep your child eligibleOne important step to keeping your child eligible, no matter their age, is to make sure their address and personal information is always updated in the Defense Enrollment Eligibility Reporting System (DEERS). An up-to-date record may help prevent delays or denials of claims if your child changes location. Your child should also have a valid uniformed service ID card that shows TRICARE eligibility. You can find information about updating DEERS and finding a local ID card-issuing facility at www.tricare.mil/deers.
Location, location, locationTRICARE-eligible children staying close to home can use TRICARE as usual. But if your child is moving away from home, the TRICARE program they had been using may not be available in their new location.Eligible students can use TRICARE Prime benefits in TRICARE Prime Service Areas (usually near a military treatment facility or other designated areas). Students using TRICARE Prime will have a local primary care manager (PCM) and will access their care through the PCM. TriWest Healthcare Alliance has information for those beneficiaries who move and might have questions about Prime availability, changing their PCM or updating their contact information online at www.triwest.com or by calling 1-888-TRIWEST (874-9378).
Outside of areas with Prime coverage, TRICARE Standard and Extra will be the only programs available for your child living away from home. Your student will be able to access care from TRICARE-authorized or network providers and is not required to enroll for Standard and Extra coverage. However, if your child previously had Prime coverage, he will have to disenroll from Prime (visit www.triwest.com to download a disenrollment form).
Don't pay two enrollment fees!Split enrollment allows a student with Prime coverage to live in a different TRICARE region than their sponsor while the family pays only one annual Prime enrollment fee (if applicable). Contact the TRICARE contractor in your family's home region and the contractor in your child's new TRICARE region to set up the split enrollment.
On the roadWhen your child travels or returns home, TRICARE coverage follows. Students with Prime coverage will have to coordinate non-emergency care with the student's PCM. For long stays (over 30 days) outside of their home region, enrollment can easily be transferred over to the new regional contractor. Students with TRICARE Standard and Extra coverage will still be responsible for applicable deductibles, cost-shares and, in most cases, completing/filing the claim paperwork while out of their home region.
Other health insuranceTRICARE benefits pay second to any other health insurance (OHI), including student-specific health plans or employer-sponsored health insurance. Visit www.triwest.com for information on how to keep your OHI information current.
For students in, or moving out of TRICARE's 21-state West Region, TriWest has the information to help you manage your benefits at www.triwest.com. For tips on managing your overall health, visit the Healthy Living Portal at www.triwest.com.
Children's Deployment Stress May Mirror Their Parent's
By Kristen WardTriWest Healthcare Alliance
While Service members face challenges on the battlefield, continued deployments also can be demanding for families at home. Children waiting for a parent to come back home are often vulnerable to stress, depression and anxiety.
Homecoming is a joyous time for the entire family. But when a parent returns, children are also susceptible to feelings of depression, especially if the mom or dad exhibits symptoms of combat stress or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). A child whose parent has PTSD will often mimic the symptoms, experts say.
Think Your Child is Depressed?Depression is more than just feeling sad. Symptoms can be behavioral changes such as: disinterest in friends or hobbies once enjoyed; difficulty concentrating; irritable moods the majority of the day, every day; and feeling worthless, helpless or guilty.
Children may exhibit physical symptoms, like stomachaches or headaches; have difficulty sleeping or sleep too much; and may have significant weight loss or gain.
What to do FirstIf your child displays any of the symptoms mentioned above for at least two weeks, contact your child's doctor or primary care manager (PCM) for an appointment. The PCM can help you decide if you should pursue behavioral health care.
If the PCM recommends additional care, know that your TRICARE benefits offer the first eight visits with a behavioral health provider without an authorization. TriWest has offered training to many of its civilian providers to help them understand the unique challenges that military families and children are experiencing.
For assistance finding a TRICARE behavioral health provider and making an appointment, call TriWest's Provider Locator and Appointment Assistance Services at 1-866-651-4970 (Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.).
For more information about your TRICARE behavioral health benefits, visit www.tricare.mil/mybenefit.
Online Resources to HelpThere are several free, online resources for children of all ages to combat depression. These include:
Behavioral Health portal on www.TriWest.com: This portal offers a Depression Screening Quiz, TRICARE provider locator, TRICARE benefits information and treatment options.
DeploymentKids.com: This site offers a variety of activities for children such as word games, jokes, online journals, fun quizzes and a "Where in the World" map to show where the parent is.
MilitaryOneSource.com: Find articles, booklets, audio CDs and other interactive tools to help you learn how to talk to your child about deployment.
Videos and DVD ProgramsA variety of multi-media programs are also available for children of different age ranges:
Help From Home: Syndicated columnist, radio host and author, Jacey Eckhart chats with military moms about raising children while their husbands were deployed. Also, teens around the U.S. discuss the challenges and rewards of being a military teen. This video series is available as streaming video or a two-DVD set on the Behavioral Health portal on www.TriWest.com.
Talk, Listen, Connect: Helping Families Cope With Military Deployment: Features the Sesame Street character Elmo dealing with the prolonged absence of his father. It is suitable for ages 3 to 5, and is available from Sesame Street Workshop at http://www.sesameworkshop.org/tlc.
Talk, Listen, Connect: Deployment, Homecoming, Changes: Another Sesame Street video that aims to aid children in understanding and unbundling the tangle of complex emotions many feel in the midst of a mother's or father's tours of duty away from home, and even broaches the difficult subject of dealing with a parent's debilitating war injury.Mr. Poe and Friends Discuss Family Reunion After Deployment: Uses cartoon characters to address deployment issues affecting children ages 6 to 11. It is available at www.cs.amedd.army.mil/youth.aspx. Military Youth Coping With Separation: When Family Members Deploy: A half-hour video featuring teenagers discussing their feelings and how they cope with issues that arise when a parent is deployed. It is available at www.aap.org/sections/uniformedservices/deployment/videos.htmlBottom LineCommunicate with your children. Actively listen to their thoughts, fears and concerns. Answer their questions as honestly as you can. Encourage your children to express their feelings through artwork, poems and stories. Watch one of the videos listed above and use the accompanying parent discussion guide to stimulate conversation. Most importantly, be a role model by showing that caring for your mental health is as important as caring for your physical health.