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TRICARE & Other Insurers  

Last Updated: Jul 1, 2014 URL: Print Guide Email Alerts
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Recommended Sites (Español: TRICARE)

TRICARE is the military health system funded and managed by the Department of Defense. Health care is provided to active duty uniformed service members, active duty families, retirees and eligible family members, and other beneficiaries. Specialized coverage is also available to members of the National Guard, Reserves, and their families.

Understanding TRICARE

Eligibility & Enrollment

Entry into and continuing care within the TRICARE system is only available with a current registration in the Defense Enrollment Eligibility Reporting System (DEERS).


TRICARE services are organized into three levels of care: TRICARE Prime, TRICARE Standard, and TRICARE Extra. There are also special programs available. Each service level is chosen by the beneficiary based upon geographic location and availability of service providers. Costs vary with the level of service and the status of the beneficiary. Active Duty and Guard and Reserve service members must enroll in a TRICARE Prime option. However military dependents and retirees must choose the TRICARE option that best suits their needs. To help you determine what options you are eligible for use the Plan Wizard.

TRICARE Prime offers the most comprehensive and affordable coverage. Most health care takes place at military treatment facilities (MTFs) and within the Preferred Provider Network (PPN) of contracted Civilian Medical Providers. All active duty and retired service members, as well as their family members, are eligible. National Guard and Reserve members, as well as their families, are also eligible if the service member has been activated for 30 consecutive days.

TRICARE Standard and Extra is a fee-for-service plan available to all non-active duty beneficiaries throughout the United States. Enrollment is not required. Coverage is automatic as long as your information is current in the Defense Enrollment Eligibility Reporting System.

Other Programs

  • TRICARE Dental Plan Overview – A voluntary dental insurance program that is available to active duty family members, as well as National Guard and Reserve members and their families. For retirees and their eligible family members there is also the TRICARE Retiree Dental Program.
  • TRICARE Extended Care Health Option (ECHO) – A program that supplements the TRICARE program option that you are already eligible for; it provides financial assistance to eligible beneficiaries who qualify based on specific mental or physical disabilities. See more supplemental programs: Special Programs.
  • TRICARE For Life – A plan offering Medicare-wraparound coverage for TRICARE beneficiaries who have Medicare Parts A and B.
  • TRICARE Reserve Select – A premium-based health care plan that qualifying National Guard and Reserve members may purchase.
  • TRICARE Retired Reserve – Retired members of the Reserves, along with their family members, may be eligible for medical and dental benefits.

Other Insurers

  • Children (NC Health Choice for Children, NC Department of Health and Human Services) - North Carolina Health Choice (NCHC) for Children is a free or reduced price comprehensive health care program for North Carolina's children. If your family makes too much money to qualify for Medicaid but too little to afford rising health insurance premiums, your child(ren) may qualify for North Carolina Health Choice.

Who is eligible for Medicaid? (see Health Insurance)

Resources compiled by Jennifer Walker, Health Sciences Library, UNC - Chapel Hill. 

This page presented by Citizen-Soldier Support Program.



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