An official website of the United States government
Here's how you know
A .mil website belongs to an official U.S. Department of Defense organization in the United States.
A lock (lock ) or https:// means you’ve safely connected to the .mil website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.

News | July 26, 2022

5 Health Care Checkups for Your Child Before School Starts

By TRICARE Communications

Summer isn’t quite over yet, but it’s almost back-to-school season. For parents, this means that it’s time to make a list of all the things your child needs for the new school year. As you begin to shop for new notebooks, pencils, binders, and clothes, don’t forget your child’s school-related health checklist. Now is the time to schedule appointments and beat the rush, as health care providers are usually busy just before the school year begins. TRICARE provides several clinical preventive services for children.
 
“A checkup with the doctor is a chance for children to get a thorough physical exam that also addresses any emotional, developmental, or any other questions and concerns that parents may have,” said Dr. Stacy Usher, lead nurse consultant of Clinical Oversight and Integration for the TRICARE Health Plan, Defense Health Agency. “TRICARE covers many preventive health services with no out-of-pocket costs for families.”
 
Follow this checklist for your child’s back-to-school health care needs.
 
1. Routine health screenings and physicals
Get a health checkup for your children while they’re still on vacation. As a result, your doctor can confirm they’re healthy and illness-free before they rejoin their classmates. Also, some schools require a physical for enrollment. TRICARE covers physicals when they’re required for school enrollment. This doesn’t include sports physicals, which are separate. TRICARE doesn’t cover annual sports physicals.
 
For younger children, TRICARE covers well-child exams from birth until age 6.
 
2. Immunizations
This is a great time for your children to catch up on routine immunizations. Their doctor will review their immunization records and confirm that they’re up to date and meet the school’s requirements. You can get covered vaccines from any TRICARE-authorized provider at no cost. But you may have to pay copayments or cost-shares for the office visit or for other services received during the same visit. Keep in mind, you can also get some covered vaccines at no cost at TRICARE retail network pharmacies.
 
Did you know that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) now recommends COVID-19 vaccines for everyone 6 months and older and boosters for everyone 5 years and older, if eligible? Use the CDC’s COVID-19 booster tool to learn if and when your child or teen can get boosters to stay up to date with their COVID-19 vaccines.
 
3. Dental checkups and cleanings
When was the last time your child saw the dentist? Scheduling a dental cleaning will allow your child’s dentist to look for potential problems before they get worse. If you can schedule appointment in the summer, it’ll ensure that your child doesn’t need to miss a day of school because of a dental appointment. TRICARE offers dental coverage to active duty family members (including National Guard and Reserve family members) through the TRICARE Dental Program (TDP). According to the TRICARE Dental Program Handbook, TDP covers two routine cleanings and two fluoride treatments during a consecutive 12-month period for children ages 1 and older. You can enroll your children in TDP at any time.
 
If your child has dental coverage through the Federal Employees Dental and Vision Insurance Program (FEDVIP), follow the rules of that plan.
 
4. Vision screenings
A simple eye exam can show if a child is having any vision issues and ensure that their eyes are healthy overall. You can get routine eye exams, depending on your beneficiary status, your health plan, and your age. Children of active duty service members can get annual eye exams. Children of retired service members with TRICARE Prime can get routine eye exams every two years.
 
If your child has vision coverage through FEDVIP, follow the rules of that plan.
 
5. Mental health check
Your child’s mental health is also important. It’s something that you can bring up with their doctor, especially if you have questions or concerns. TRICARE covers medically and psychologically necessary mental health services for families during times of stress, depression, grief, and anxiety. If care is needed, keep in mind, you don’t need a referral or pre-authorization for most outpatient mental health care. This includes services like therapy and counseling.
 
While you’re scheduling appointments for your child, don’t forget about preventive screenings for yourself or other family members. Check the Getting Preventive Care page to learn how to get care under your TRICARE health plan. Your whole family can use this time to stay on top of their health.
 
Would you like the latest TRICARE news sent to you by email? Visit the TRICARE Subscriptions page today, and create your personalized profile to get benefit updates, news, and more.
Two service members greet each other

Seeking Clinical Mental Health Services? Learn W...

News
Sep. 27, 2022

If left untreated, mental health difficulties could affect your physical health. That’s why TRICARE covers a...
Read More
A woman shows off her smile

Q&A: How Can TRICARE Dental Program’s Wellness P...

News
Sep. 22, 2022

Have you or a family member been diagnosed with a chronic medical condition? If so, you may qualify for extra...
Read More
Signing divorce papers

How Divorce Impacts Your TRICARE Benefits

News
Sep. 20, 2022

The divorce process can create intense emotions. You might feel frustrated or confused during this time...
Read More
A woman standing in the street

Q&A: What You Need to Know for Federal Benefits ...

News
Sep. 12, 2022

The Federal Benefits Open Season starts Nov. 14 and ends Dec. 12, 2022. This open season is for dental and...
Read More
Woman browses her computer while holding a cup

A Checklist to Help You Prepare for 2022 TRICARE...

News
Sep. 12, 2022

TRICARE Open Season starts in the fall. That’s the time when most families can make changes to their TRICARE...
Read More
A graphic promoting the Sept. 29 Webinar

Have TRICARE For Life Questions? Register for Se...

News
Sep. 08, 2022

Will you soon be eligible for Medicare and TRICARE coverage? If yes, be sure to join the TRICARE webinar, “How...
Read More
An adult holds a baby's hand

New Cultural Exemption Affects Midwife Services ...

News
Sep. 01, 2022

Are you living in Germany? Are you planning to have a child? If so, there are some important updates about...
Read More
A doctor looks over her laptop

Make Sure You Understand Recent TRICARE Teleheal...

News
Aug. 30, 2022

At the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Defense Health Agency (DHA) made several temporary updates to the...
Read More

Sept. 27, 2022

Seeking Clinical Mental Health Services? Learn What TRICARE Covers

If left untreated, mental health difficulties could affect your physical health. That’s why TRICARE covers a variety of mental health services. These services can help you get care so you can stay balanced, in both mind and body.

Sept. 22, 2022

Q&A: How Can TRICARE Dental Program’s Wellness Program Help You

Have you or a family member been diagnosed with a chronic medical condition? If so, you may qualify for extra benefits. The TRICARE Dental Program has a Wellness Program extending dental benefits for qualified beneficiaries with chronic medical conditions.

Sept. 20, 2022

How Divorce Impacts Your TRICARE Benefits

The divorce process can create intense emotions. You might feel frustrated or confused during this time. Thinking about your TRICARE benefits may be the last thought on your mind. However, it’s something you must consider.

Sept. 12, 2022

Q&A: What You Need to Know for Federal Benefits Open Season

The Federal Benefits Open Season starts Nov. 14 and ends Dec. 12, 2022. This open season is for dental and vision coverage through the Federal Employees Dental and Vision Insurance Program (FEDVIP).

Sept. 12, 2022

A Checklist to Help You Prepare for 2022 TRICARE Open Season

TRICARE Open Season starts in the fall. That’s the time when most families can make changes to their TRICARE health care coverage for next year. Preparing for open season now can help you make the best selection for you and your family later.

Sept. 8, 2022

Have TRICARE For Life Questions? Register for September 29 Webinar

Will you soon be eligible for Medicare and TRICARE coverage? If yes, be sure to join the TRICARE webinar, “How to Get Started With Medicare and TRICARE,” on Sept. 29, from 1 to 2 p.m. ET.

Sept. 1, 2022

New Cultural Exemption Affects Midwife Services for TRICARE Families in Germany

Are you living in Germany? Are you planning to have a child? If so, there are some important updates about midwife services TRICARE covers for families in Germany.

Aug. 30, 2022

Make Sure You Understand Recent TRICARE Telehealth Policy Changes

At the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Defense Health Agency (DHA) made several temporary updates to the TRICARE benefit regarding telehealth. These temporary policy updates allowed you to get care safely during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Aug. 25, 2022

TRICARE Helps You Stay On Top of Preventive Health Care

There are many things you can do to stay healthy. Eat nutritious foods. Move your body through exercise or recreation. Stay at a healthy weight. Don’t use tobacco or drugs. Limit alcohol intake. And get plenty of sleep. But an important part of being—and staying—healthy is getting regular preventive health care checkups.

Aug. 23, 2022

Let’s Talk: Youth, Mental Health, and TRICARE

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, mental health challenges among youth are on the rise nationwide. During childhood, mental wellness is especially important because it contributes to physical health, resiliency, and social skills.

Learn More about COVID-19 and the COVID-19 Vaccine.