Many people who are aware of the medical benefits available to active duty Servicemembers and their families through Tricare are not aware of other benefits. Tricare offers behavioral health care service. These supportive mental health services are for a wide range of disease and conditions that affect Servicemembers and their families. Covered members who are in emergency situations should seek care at their local emergency room.
Beneficiaries who are covered by Tricare are urged to seek these benefits first from their primary treatment Military medical facility, when it is feasible. If the required services are not available, then covered beneficiaries may go to other Tricare behavior authorized health care providers. Servicemembers who are serving on Active Duty have to access care via their unit care providers or a MTF if seeking non-emergency care. They must also talk to the Medical Support Office for pre authorization before obtaining such services. Mental health services to help with depression, manic mood swings, chemical dependency issues, alcohol abuse and other wide ranging mental health issues are available. Many of these issues are surrounded by shame and embarrassment, and so often they are hidden within families, or not reported to health care professionals, even when care is available.
If currently on non-active duty status, beneficiaries may obtain up to eight visits in a year without getting pre approval or referral. These first eight visits are still covered under Tricare benefits. After the first eight visits, it is necessary to talk with their regional medical contractor to find out the process for further authorization and approval.
Some outpatient services that are not covered without prior approval include: electro convulsive therapy, therapeutic sessions lasting more than one hour, psychological testing, psychoanalysis, and neuropsychological testing. Mental health benefits under Tricare are not meant to be all-inclusive, but to help provide support for those in crisis and also to help resolve mental health issues those beneficiaries and their families are encountering.
A great number of people are not aware of the mental health benefits that exist, and so it is important to inquire with your local provider for these and any additional services available. Retired Servicemembers and others who are members of Tricare for life, and those who enjoy Medicare coverage in addition to Tricare for any reason do not require pre authorization. This is true when Medicare is primary and when pre authorization has been obtained with Medicare first.