TRICARE Prime is the cheapest health care benefit and is chosen by many active-duty military men and women and their families. It is a managed medical service like the civilian Health Maintenance Organization (HMO) plan and it offers less personal expenses than other TRICARE coverage plans. Registered members of this type of coverage get treatment from military treatment facilities supported by Preferred Provider Network of TRICARE contractors. Additionally, active duty servicemen need not pay for registration or common visits. However, retired veterans and their families must pay a yearly registration charge.
The registration charge for TRICARE Prime increases on October 1 every year. This increase is based upon the adjusted inflation increase in the pension amount. Only living family members of on-duty deceased servicemen and retired servicemen on medical ground and their families are exempt.
Registration in TRICARE Prime does not occur automatically. All qualified family members need to be registered individually using available enrollment forms for this purpose.
A list of TRICARE providers can easily be found.
Holding your co-pay statements, receipts, and Explanation of Benefits (EOB) for at least for one year can save you from extra expenditures and confusion. Some of the medical expenses are tax-deductible. In other cases, you may get billed twice for the same services in worst case scenarios.
TRICARE Prime in a Nutshell:
- No registration fee required for on-duty servicemen and their families
- Free of charge visits to military medical centers
- Free of cost visits to general health care providers for on-duty servicemen
- Primary Care Managers monitor treatment
- Point of Service (POS) facility availability allows for no need for authorization or additional references
- Reasonable registration charges for retired servicemen and their families
- Few choices of providers
- Specialized care can only be obtained through referred references
- It does not cover all regions
- A person needs to be registered at least for a year