TRICARE has an excellent health care plan (ECHO) for those who have slightly uncommon medical needs. Find out how much it costs here.
The Extended Care Health Care Option (ECHO) provides financial support for military beneficiaries who have uncommon medical needs. ECHO provides a number of special services and supplies. Since it is an additional health care plan aimed at special circumstantial need, the costs of ECHO too are rather unconventional.
There are no enrollment fees needed to participate in the plan, but there is a monthly co-payment needed, and you must personally bear some of the monthly expenses incurred in the authorized ECHO benefits. The monthly cost sharing payment plan is dependent upon the military sponsor’s pay grade as depicted in the chart below. The monthly cost share is only one fee per sponsor, not per ECHO beneficiary. Co-payments are not yearly incurring charges; you only pay the cost share if you use ECHO benefits during that calendar month. The government’s limit for the cost of all ECHO benefits combined, is $36,000 per beneficiary, every fiscal year. Echo benefits, which are allocated to in-home care, are also susceptible to co-payments. Furthermore, under ECHO, costs are not to be shared amongst a beneficiary family. For example, if a family member only uses ECHO benefits worth $20,000 instead of the entire allocated amount of $36,000; the remaining $16,000 cannot be spent elsewhere.
The Costs of Echo Overview
|Sponsor Pay Grade||Monthly Cost Share|
|E-1 to E-5||$25|
|E-9, W-1, W-2, O-3||$45|
|W-3, W-4, O-4||$50|
While it is not a mandatory health plan, ECHO costs can prove to be challenging for the normal person. Many disabilities and their treatments require much more money than the allocated amount. This is quite a dilemma for people with disabilities and for parents with disabled children. However, ECHO is a noble initiative. Disability medical treatments can be outrageously exorbitant and ECHO benefits cover a comprehensive list of services and support. Therefore, while it can be expensive, it is still striving towards catering to the needs of the disabled.