Exceptional Care for Exceptional Family Members


Falls Church, Va, October 7, 2015 - Family members with special needs require special considerations. When you move, you worry if there will be adequate care and if it is easy to access. There are resources and information available to help you get the best care for your family members. But you must follow the rules for getting care.

Active duty service members must enroll their family members with special needs into the Exceptional Family Member Program (EFMP). EFMP is a program specific to each Service. The program coordinates moving assignments to support families with special medical and educational needs. Enrolling in EFMP makes you eligible for the Extended Care Health Option (ECHO). ECHO provides TRICARE coverage of supplemental services, like durable medical equipment and respite care. Call your regional contractor to register for ECHO with a case manager. Keep in mind, to be eligible for ECHO services, you must enroll in EFMP.

To qualify for ECHO, the TRICARE sponsor must be an active duty service member, an activated National Guard or Reserve member, or meet one of the other criteria. ECHO provides benefits to those diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder, moderate or severe intellectual disability, a serious physical disability, or a severe physical or psychological condition.

To maintain your enrollment status, you must re-enroll into the EFMP every time you switch installations and enter your family member's disability in the Defense Enrollment Eligibility System (DEERS). For a smoother transition, talk to your child's case manager and regional contractor before you move.

For more information, visit the Resources for Families with Special Needs and the Extended Care Health Option pages on the TRICARE website. You can also download the ECHO Fact Sheet.