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News | March 11, 2020

Traveling Overseas? Know How to Get Care With TRICARE

If you’re planning to travel overseas this summer, your TRICARE coverage goes with you. However, the rules vary based on your sponsor status, your location, and your health plan. Familiarize yourself with your plan’s rules and these tips so you know what to do if you have health issues while traveling overseas.

Prepare for Travel

Get your routine and specialty care before you leave. Otherwise, your care may not be authorized when you’re on your trip. Before you travel, follow these steps:
 
  • Update Your Information in the Defense Enrollment Eligibility Reporting SystemClick to close(DEERS) A database of information on uniformed services members (sponsors), U.S.-sponsored foreign military, DoD and uniformed services civilians, other personnel as directed by the DoD, and their family members. You need to register in DEERS to get TRICARE.Log in to milConnect and check that your personal and contact information is up to date.
  • Get Prescriptions Filled or Refilled. If you take prescription medications, pack them in your carry-on bag. If you need to fill a prescription overseas, go to a military pharmacy if one is close. If you go to an overseas pharmacy, you may have to pay for your drugs up front and file claims to get money back on covered drugs.
  • Pack a List of Phone Numbers. Whether you pack them, program them in your phone, or both, be sure you know whom to contact. You can select a country on the TRICARE overseas website to view contact information. You can also download the TRICARE contact wallet card for key overseas and stateside numbers. If you’re traveling to a country with an established military hospital or clinic, you can contact the Military Health System Nurse Advice Line 24/7 for health care advice.
When Traveling

Keep these things in mind to help make your travels easier:
 
  • To get help or to find a provider when traveling, contact the appropriate TRICARE Overseas Program (TOP) Regional Call Center.   
  • Active duty service members traveling overseas must seek all non-emergency care at military hospitals or clinics when possible. And everyone should follow specific rules for getting urgent care overseas based on your TRICARE plan.
  • If you reasonably think that you have an emergency, go to the nearest emergency care facility, or call the Medical Assistance number to coordinate emergency care overseas. When medically necessaryClick to closeTo be medically necessary means it is appropriate, reasonable, and adequate for your condition. and appropriate, TRICARE covers air evacuations to the nearest, safest location that can provide the required care. Remember that your costs for covered air evacuation services are based on your plan. This means that you may be required to pay for air evacuation up front and file a claim to get money back (minus any cost-shares).
  •  If you’re admitted to a hospital, call the TOP Regional Call Center before leaving the facility, preferably within 24 hours or on the next business day.
  • Keep all receipts and file claims with the TOP claims processor, not with your regional contractor in the U.S. If enrolled in the US Family Health Plan or Continued Health Care Benefit Program, file claims with your contractor regardless of where you received care.
Visit the TRICARE website and select your plan for more guidelines when traveling overseas. Remember, if you do get health care, save your receipts in case you need to file a claim when you return home.
 
Lt. Col. Paula Neemann, 15th Healthcare Operations Squadron clinical medicine flight commander, demonstrates several birth options, such as an intrauterine device, at the 15th MDG’s contraceptive clinic at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii, May 6, 2021. The contraceptive clinic opened June 7 to service beneficiaries and provide same-day procedures without a referral. (Photo: U.S. Air Force 2nd Lt. Benjamin Aronson)

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