Stateside Travel: On the Go with TRICARE

By TRICARE
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Falls Church, Va, July 20, 2015 - Whether you travel for business or pleasure, it's important to know that TRICARE is portable and travels with you wherever you go.

You should receive all routine care and get your prescriptions filled before traveling. If you have a medication that you take regularly, get enough to take with you and be sure to pack your medication in your carry-on luggage.

With routine care complete, your only health care concern should be urgent or emergency care. Your first line of defense when deciding what kind of care you need is TRICARE's Nurse Advice Line (NAL) at 1-800-TRICARE (874-2273). A registered nurse can answer your urgent care questions and schedule next-day appointments at military hospitals and clinics if necessary. Best of all, the NAL is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, so there is no need to worry about availability as you travel between times zones.

In the event of an emergency, you should seek care at an emergency facility. If you use TRICARE Prime and need emergency care, be sure to notify your primary care manager (PCM) or regional contractor within 24 hours or the next business day. If you think you only need urgent care, get a referral from your primary care manager or call the NAL to get advice on when and how to seek care for an urgent problem.

Standard beneficiaries can visit any TRICARE-authorized, network or non-network provider; simply call the doctor to schedule an appointment. Referrals are not required, but you may need prior authorization from your regional contractor for some services. If you use a non-network provider, you may have to file your own claim. You may also have to pay up front for your care, so look for a network provider for treatment and save your receipts to file a claim later. Using a network provider exercises the TRICARE Extra option giving you a five percent cost-share discount.

US Family Health plan participants should call customer service 1-800-748-7347 for care. Be sure to save all your health care receipts. Beneficiaries enrolled in the US Family Health Plan cannot use the Nurse Advice Line.

TRICARE Overseas Program (TOP) beneficiaries traveling in the United States can call the Nurse Advice Line for health care advice, but if they ultimately seek care from a provider, they will need to call their TOP Regional Call Center to coordinate care.

TRICARE covers services that are medically necessary and proven safe and effective. For information about your health plan, visit the TRICARE website.