Benefits of Tricare ECHO

Benefits of Tricare ECHO

The TRICARE ECHO program aims to provide special services and supplies to military beneficiaries who suffer from mental and physical disabilities. This page will provide you with the information regarding the nature of these services, as well as who is eligible for them.

The Extended Care Health Care Option (ECHO) provides financial support for military beneficiaries who have uncommon medical needs. TRICARE ECHO provides a number of special services and supplies. It is more commonly used as a means of disability compensation and is offered to families of military sponsors who suffer from severe mental and physical disabilities. Furthermore, children of military sponsors remain eligible for TRICARE benefits under Echo beyond the legal age of 21 or 23 (full time students). The child in question must have a life crippling disability, which renders him or her incapable to sufficiently support himself or herself.

ECHO is an additional, supplementary medical coverage program subsidized by TRICARE for military and non-military beneficiaries. It covers services that are not available through the standard TRICARE program plans. It provides financial support to dependents with special needs and disabilities and whose needs are not met in regular, traditional plans.

ECHO is available for usage to the same types of dependents who use TRICARE, however in order to qualify for ECHO, a special criteria has to be met. One such qualification merit is that the beneficiary seeking ECHO must have a severe and serious physical disability. Other qualifying conditions of Extended Care Health Option (ECHO) include severe mental retardation and a disabling physical condition which is so potent that the beneficiary has to remain in the confines of his or her home.

ECHO covers a wide range of socially and physically impairing diseases as well including Autism and Lou Gehrig’s disease. Furthermore, Blindness, Deafness and Muteness all qualify for TRICARE ECHO benefits and in addition to simple TRICARE coverage, beneficiaries can also receive assistance via the ECHO subsidiary.

The assistance becomes two fold and is more comprehensive and includes – in addition to regular benefits – rehabilitation programs, device and prosthetic training services, special education, transportation, institutional care and in-house services. Assistive services such as an interpreter and translator are also available under TRICARE ECHO.

Tricare Admin


  • My wife requires a CNA;s assistance daily to help with bath and getting dressed. Also doing light housework. And taking her to the Doctor’s Appointments. Thanks James Crabtree

  • I have a son who will be 23 in February. His father is retired USN. My son has Asperger’s/is ‘on the spectrum’…high functioning enough to graduate from high school. He’s now focused on film production studies, and living at home. His college offers some 4 year programs, and the film production type curriculum was a recent addition. While many of his contemporaries have left home, completed 4 year university programs, and are now either job hunting or employed, my son still has a couple of years to go, in part because of that gap between when this curriculum was planned and when it was a ‘go’ (funded).

    Added to the Asperger’s, my son has severe psoriasis. Once upon a time, he was keen on joining the Navy, but psoriasis is a disqualifying condition. This did nothing to enhance his feelings of worth. He has stopped using Humira and hasn’t been to the dermatology clinic in quite some time, probably because he wants to know how he would fare without it if/when he has to. He also seems to be developing joint pain to some degree (psoriatic arthritis plus body weight issues). Foot and joint pain exist to some degree now, and…when I try to get him away from the computer desk (where film editing happens), talking about it is almost counter-productive.

    This is a kid who says he does not want to ever get married and have children because he has these two conditions that he would not wish on Anyone.

    He knows that when he turns 23, things change. He has zero paid work experience beyond the occasional lawn mowing gig. The ‘look for a part time job, please!!’ discussion has been had many a time; he typically gets quietly upset, looking as if he just heard his dog or best friend had died, and tears sneak up on him. Yet he does not seem to be able to put a job on his radar for daily living. His entire focus is on the OC classes and the film projects. Single-mindedness not the least bit unusual, of course. I get the distinct feeling that pushing him too hard on this could have very bad consequences.

    Naturally. I consider my family to be fortunate that my son can function as well as he does, but his health care costs do loom very large on the horizon, and somewhat cloud what ought to be a festive season. I am looking for light at the end of this weird tunnel, and not seeing it. I don’t like to think that his future could be long spans of chronic unemployment, but statistics for more ‘typical’ young adults are grim, thus statistics for those on the Spectrum are worse.

    Luckily, I think I have convinced my husband that in today’s job market, having an adult child continue to live at home, with ‘independent launch’ delayed significantly, is almost the Norm for this day and age, even with offspring who might be, by nature, hard-wired to be more independent.

    Is it possible to book an appointment and sit down with an advisor concerning ECHO (if indeed it could apply to our situation)? I was given a form, before my son graduated from high school, that was probably for this very thing, but the way it was briefly explained to me, by a counselor, at the time made it seem like application for it was pretty much giving up on his chances for any level of independence. It definitely seemed like a premature assessment and permanent ‘judgement’. If a parent loses optimism All is lost. But then again, there are hard realities that assert themselves as time goes by. That ‘between a rock and a hard place’ time is at hand.

  • Okay….if the words ‘Active Duty’ had been inserted into one of the first two paragraphs of your page, a lot of embarrassment could have been saved here! It looks as if ‘ECHO’ does not apply to my family, and indeed ‘echoes’ all over the website vs. being super helpful on Page One.

    As I mention in my last paragraph, I was given a form to use for what sounded like an extension of TriCare beyond the normal parameters, but to do so seemed like giving up on my child’s potential. It was not a form regarding Tricare Young Adult. Maybe it falls into the category of “we hand this to all the patients we see in this clinic.”

    My husband was already Retired from the Navy at the time this was handed to me. 5 years later, I don’t know where that paper is. Parents of kids in SpEd programs drown in paperwork.

    My son had some Special Education classes and services through Junior year of high school. Then he passed the HSPE exam (math on the second try) without special accomodations (“because a diploma issued without accomodations has more value than one with accomodations, so we have kids go without to see how they fare”) and thus was suddenly cut loose from SpEd like a hot potato.

    His primary accomodation on the IEP was extra time to complete assignments, which he truly needed. That safety net fell away, and he was seriously confused. Nothing in parent-teacher discussions had ever prepared us for…being set adrift, with 9 months to sink or swim. It was a mixed blessing, because he was still the same person; all the rules were changed.

    He still has the social challenges, hyperfocusing, etc. Still has psoriasis to the Max. Launch Sequence may never happen. 😉 Or it may take a decade or two.

    If there is anything I am overlooking beyond just $ign up for Tricare Young Adult, I’d be pleased to hear it. But please: mercifully delete my first post, because to parents facing more serious challenges, I surely would sound like a ‘whiner’.