TRICARE Supplemental Insurance

Formerly known as CHAMPUS (Civilian Health and Medical Program of the Uniformed Services), TRICARE supplemental insurance is provided through the U.S. Department of Defense Military to members of the military, their spouses and dependents and military retirees. TRICARE supplemental insurance is managed by the Assistant Secretary of Defense and aims to provide civilian type benefits to members, spouses and dependents of those who served in the military. You can apply for TRICARE through various insurance companies as well as the official TRICARE site.

As most members of the military, their spouses and their dependents are often provided military health benefits, TRICARE supplemental insurance provides additional choices. There are several types of TRICARE insurance policies to select from. These include TRICARE Standard, TRICARE Extra, TRICARE Prime, US Family Health Plan, TRICARE Reserve Select, TRICARE Reserve Retired, TRICARE For Life and TRICARE For Young Adult.

TRICARE Standard is similar to the original plan that used to be called CHAMPUS. This plan provides the most amount of flexibility when it comes to choosing a health care provider. Those who are eligible may choose from any doctor they wish and this is often the plan selected by those who want to continue using their current doctor. As those covered with this plan have the option of using any civilian doctor enrolled in the network, many find that TRICARE Standard is the best option for their needs. Those who choose a TRICARE Standard policy will be required to pay a deductible as well as coinsurance with the U.S government.

TRICARE Extra is a Preferred Provider Option or PPO plan. With this option the insured is not at liberty to use any doctor or hospital they choose but rather must select from a list of preapproved civilian doctors and specialists. The TRICARE Extra PPO plan includes a list of networked health care providers which the policy holder may select from.

TRICARE Prime is a health maintenance organization or an HMO. With TRICARE Prime, enrollees must select a primary care physician and if they choose to see another doctor or specialist must get approval from their primary care physician as well as get referrals. Some feel that TRICARE Prime holds advantages over other options because the copayment is very small. Those who don’t mind having a primary care physician or being enrolled in an HMO should consider enrolling in the TRICARE Prime plan. One form of a TRICARE Prime plan is the US Family Health Plan. This plan is available in select areas.

TRICARE Reserve Select is a plan for those in the National Guard or Reserves. Similar to TRICARE Standard and Extra, enrollees pay a monthly premium and are often found to be a less expensive plan than those sold by private insurance companies. As TRICARE Reserve Select is for active Reserve duty members, TRICARE Reserve Retired is for those who are under the age of sixty and retired from the Reserves.

TRICARE For Life ensures that enrollees will not lose their TRICARE policy once they reach 65 and qualify for Medicare. Those who have both TRICARE For Life and Medicare Part A and B should pay close attention to their policies to ensure they have a complete understanding of the benefits they are entitled to.

TRICARE Young Adult is a supplemental insurance policy for military dependents who turn 21 or 23 years old for college students, who outgrown their parents TRICARE supplemental insurance policy. With TRICARE Young Adult, dependents can rest assured that those who are single and ineligible to obtain insurance through their employer can continue their TRICARE coverage. TRICARE Young Adult coverage will be available for single, qualified dependents until the age of 26.

There are many options available to choose from. Those who have served in the military or are on active duty and would like to add civilian health insurance to their plan should consider choosing TRICARE supplemental insurance.

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