Learn About Military Health Insurance Coverage

Service members in the military have access to TRICARE as their main source of health insurance.

This health insurance program covers uniformed service members, retirees and their families all around the world. 

TRICARE’s mission is to provide health coverage for a full range of military operations, which will sustain the health of all service members who are covered.

By taking care of the health of service members protecting our nation, the nation’s security will be improved and the Department of Defense will be enhanced.

TRICARE is managed by the Defense Health Agency and aims to be a top of the line health care system for the military by providing coverage to service members.

Through TRICARE, beneficiaries become a part of a health care system that fosters, protects, sustains and restores their health.

Service members covered through TRICARE will receive comprehensive coverage for the following:

  • Health plans.
  • Special programs.
  • Prescription medications.
  • Dental plans.

In addition, some applicants may be eligible for both TRICARE and Medicaid. In this case, all medical expenses are usually covered.

Note: Beneficiaries may also be eligible for coverage through TRICARE.

What types of health plans are available through TRICARE?

When applying for TRICARE health coverage, applicants will need to enroll in one of the various plans available. Applicants can choose from one of the following health coverage options:

  • TRICARE Prime
  • TRICARE Prime
  • TRICARE Prime Overseas
  • TRICARE Prime Remote Overseas
  • TRICARE Select
  • TRICARE Select Overseas
  • TRICARE Reserve Select
  • TRICARE Retired Reserve
  • TRICARE Young Adult
  • Continued Health Care Benefit Plan
  • US Family Health Plan

How to Apply for a TRICARE Health Plan

There are some general requirements to apply for a TRICARE health plan, however, the enrollment process may differ depending on which plan the applicant chooses.

Certain healthcare options require applicants to provide additional information, have different methods of enrolling in coverage and more.

In order to complete the application process, hopeful candidates must meet with a primary care manager.

These primary care managers are separated by East and West regions. On the application form, service members must include any family members who are looking to be covered under the insurance plan.

Once complete, they must submit the application using the three different methods for TRICARE enrollment.

Learn About TRICARE Enrollment Methods

Service members and their beneficiaries who are looking to enroll in TRICARE have a few steps they must follow in order to complete the process.

First, they must choose a primary care manager. The location of their primary care manager will decide if they will be in the East or West region of TRICARE.

There are a few methods for enrolling in TRICARE but the simplest and most convenient method is to apply online.

In order to complete the online enrollment process, you will need to log in to the TRICARE web portal.

With an online application, the system will check to ensure that you have all of the required documents, and they will inform you immediately if anything is missing.

You will be guided through each step of the application process using the online portal.

Another option for enrolling in TRICARE is to call on the phone and speak directly with a TRICARE representative.

In order to do so, you will need to call the TRICARE toll-free number. Each region of the country has a specific TRICARE facility, so be sure to call the office in your area.

If you are applying for TRICARE health care coverage from overseas, you will need to find the TRICARE overseas phone number.

If you happen to call the wrong TRICARE facility, they will typically forward you to the correct location.

Finally, applicants have the option to submit their enrollment forms and pertinent information by mail.

They can use the United States Postal Service to mail their application to either East or West regional TRICARE office.

All mailed-in applications must have the appropriate forms and all necessary documents included.

Learn About Exceptions to TRICARE Enrollment Requirements

Certain TRICARE health plans may have different eligibility and application requirements for their coverage.

For example, the TRICARE Reserve Select plan requires that all applicants meet their qualification criteria before receiving any coverage.

Hopeful applicants can visit the TRICARE web portal in order to establish their eligibility.

Other TRICARE plans may require beneficiaries to sign up for a variety of different online accounts in order to manage their payments and update any necessary information.

Another exception to the general TRICARE eligibility and enrollment criteria comes with the TRICARE for Life program.

With TRICARE for Life, beneficiaries who are registered with the Defense Enrollment Eligibility Reporting (DEER) system are automatically enrolled.

Many other TRICARE health coverage plans require participants to enroll in the DEER system.

Furthermore, any family member or beneficiary who receives health care coverage through TRICARE will need to enroll in the DEER system as well.

Learn About Enrolling in the Defense Enrollment Eligibility Reporting (DEER) System

In order to successfully enroll in the Defense Enrollment Eligibility Reporting (DEER) system, applicants must provide specific documentation.

The required documents can vary depending on who is applying and their relationship to the sponsored active duty service member.

For example, military service members who would like to add their spouse to their TRICARE coverage must submit the following items during their enrollment to the DEER system:

  • A valid marriage certificate.
  • Their spouse’s birth certificate.
  • Their spouse’s Social Security Card.
  • A valid photo ID for their spouse.

Another example of an application that requires specific documents is when a service member is trying to add a child or step-child to their TRICARE coverage.

Children and step-children are required to enroll in the DEER system if they fall into any the following categories:

  • He or she is 21 years old or older, but is enrolled in school as a full-time student.
  • He or she was born out of wedlock.
  • He or she has parents who are dependents.
  • He or she has wards who are dependents.
  • He or she is enrolled in TRICARE for young adults.
  • His or her beneficiaries are turning 65 years old.

Note: All service members and beneficiaries enrolled in TRICARE must always keep their information updated. If there are any changes, they must be reported within the DEER system.