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Spring travel? TRICARE goes with you

WASHINGTON -- If you’re planning a trip this spring, remember that TRICARE travels with you. Whether traveling stateside or overseas, make sure you know what to do in case you or your loved ones become sick or injured on vacation.

Learn the rules for getting care and costs associated with your TRICARE health plan, so you can make informed decisions while traveling.

A few weeks before you pack your bags, prepare.

To get help or to find an urgent care provider when traveling, you can always contact your TRICARE regional contractor. When overseas, you can also call the TRICARE Overseas Program Regional Call Center’s Medical Assistance number for your location. 

Most TRICARE beneficiaries can get urgent care without a referral. When possible, visit a TRICARE network provider or a TRICARE-authorized (network or non-network) urgent care center to avoid additional out-of-pocket costs. See more rules for getting stateside or overseas urgent care based on your TRICARE health plan at https://www.tricare.mil/urgentcare/.

You may find that the rules are different. For example, if you’re a retiree enrolled in TRICARE Prime traveling overseas, you’re expected to pay up front for care and file a claim later.

In an emergency, call 911 or go to the nearest emergency care facility. If overseas, you can call the Medical Assistance number. If you’re admitted to a hospital, call your TRICARE regional contractor or primary care manager within 24 hours or on the next business day after receiving emergency care. You may need to pay up front for services and file a claim to get money back. Keep your health care receipts in case you need to file a claim. If you’re a stateside beneficiary and you receive care overseas, file claims with the TOP claims processor, not with your regional contractor in the U.S.

While overseas, if air evacuation is determined to be medically necessary, your costs for covered air evacuation services are based on your health plan. You may want to look at travel insurance that may cover unexpected costs, such as air evacuation.

Maybe you don’t need urgent or emergency care, but do need health advice during your travels. Use the Military Health System (MHS) Nurse Advice Line. It’s available in the U.S. and countries with an established military hospital or clinic. Visit the MHS Nurse Advice Line website to chat with a nurse online or to find your location-specific number. If you travel anywhere in the U.S., Guam, or Puerto Rico, you can call 1-800-TRICARE (1-800-874-2273).

Before you travel this spring, make sure you’re prepared to handle any health issues that may arise. Keep in mind that your rules for getting care depend on your health plan and travel destination. Learn more about how to get care when traveling stateside or overseas.