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 | Aug. 18, 2022

Learn How TRICARE’s Extended Care Health Option Works for Families With Special Needs

By TRICARE Communications

Are you aware of the Extended Care Health Option (ECHO)? This TRICARE option is available for eligible active duty family members (ADFMs) with special needs. It offers health care benefits beyond what other TRICARE plans offer. ECHO benefits include extra treatment, services, and more. To learn more about this program, check out the Extended Care Health Option Fact Sheet. This fact sheet offers an overview of the care your family members may be eligible to receive through ECHO.
 
“TRICARE resources like the Extended Care Health Option Fact Sheet provide information to help you get the most from your health care benefits,” said Robert Agnello, deputy chief of Digital Communications at the Defense Health Agency. “Review this fact sheet to see if ECHO is the right option for your family.”
 
Here’s a look at some things you can learn about ECHO eligibility, enrollment, benefits, and costs.
 
1. Who qualifies for ECHO?
There are specific conditions that determine whether a family member qualifies for ECHO coverage. The “ECHO Eligibility” section outlines most of them. Some examples of qualifying conditions include:
  • Autism Spectrum Disorder
  • Moderate to severe intellectual disability
  • Serious physical disability
  • Multiple disabilities affecting separate body systems
 
As highlighted in the fact sheet, your ADFM with a qualifying condition must also be enrolled in one of the following TRICARE health plans to qualify for ECHO:  
2. How do you enroll in ECHO?
The fact sheet outlines the steps active duty sponsors must take to be eligible for ECHO benefits. For example, active duty sponsors with family members who need ECHO benefits must sign up for their service’s Exceptional Family Member Program (unless waived in specific situations). You must also register for ECHO with your TRICARE regional contractor. There’s no retroactive registration. This means you have to get pre-authorization from your regional contractor for all ECHO services.
 
3. What does ECHO cover?
In the “ECHO Benefits” section, the fact sheet outlines what ECHO covers. Some of the covered products and services include:
  • Durable medical equipment
  • Assistive services, like an interpreter or translator
  • Rehabilitative services
  • Respite care for the primary caregiver
  • Institutional care when required
  • Training in special education and assistive technology devices
 
4. What are ECHO costs?
There are no enrollment fees for ECHO. But you do have monthly copayments for the months you use ECHO benefits. You pay monthly copayments based on the sponsor’s pay grade. The copayments range from $25 to $250, as outlined in the fact sheet. The coverage limit for all ECHO benefits combined is $36,000 per family member, per calendar year. This coverage limit excludes the ECHO Home Health Care benefit.
 
Your TRICARE contractor can provide further help if you have questions about ECHO enrollment, benefits, or costs. After you review the ECHO fact sheet, take the publications survey to share your feedback.
 
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.