Tricare is the health and services agency for the United States Armed Forces. It is the military health system that runs the care and health activity system for the Servicemembers, dependents, retirees, and other members of the uniformed services. Tricare serves more than nine million eligible beneficiaries around the world that are enrolled in the Military Health System.
The overall mission of the Military health system is to provide for Servicemembers and dependents by providing health support for both military and non-military operations. By doing this the mission of the Department of Defense is supported, as well as the needs of Servicemembers around the world are cared for.
The Military health system, via Tricare provides for health services via a comprehensive network of medical clinics, military hospitals and treatment facilities, medical professionals and providers, and dental clinic worldwide. The Tricare system also supports and maintains a web of civilian providers that are approved to see TriCare patients through various agreements with the providers.
For active duty Servicemembers, most are on TriCare Prime. But for their dependents, or some groups of Veterans, retirees, or military families TriCare standard is what is chosen.
There are several elements of TriCare. Tricare Prime, Tricare Standard, Tricare Extra, and various levels of Tricare service. Most Servicemembers dependents belong to Tricare Standard, which offers comprehensive care for Servicemembers and their families. Tricare Standard is good dependents especially, as it can share the cost of some types of care at civilian care facilities when military care is not available
The Tricare option that has the most flexibility is Tricare Standard. It is not accessible or available to those Servicemembers on active duty, but is very helpful to their dependents back home. Many two income Servicemember families that have supplemental insurance choose Tri Care standard because it allows more choices for treatment, and gives them the best bang for their financial buck.
Some dependents that are happy with their civilian providers or who would like to choose between services sometimes choose TriCare Standard. TriCare Standard is also popular for younger Veteran retirees who live in an area where TriCare Prime is not available. Some beneficiaries may have to do some of their own paperwork or claims using Tricare Standard. Some people dislike this, but it can save them in the long run over the cost of other types of TriCare.