When my husband first was deployed in 2004, we were given Tricare Prime while he was deployed. It was great because we were paying $160 per week for a big name health insurance company and we still had to pay a large amount out of pocket. We were truly dissatisfied with our current health insurance plan, but when he got deployed we were instantly given Tricare Prime. You need to enroll in Tricare Prime and it's only available to active duty members and their families. If you are a reservist and you get activated, you may enroll in Tricare Prime.
The website for Tricare Prime for more information is: www.tricare.mil/mybenefit/home/overview/.../TRICAREPrime
The first challenge is to get a military ID. You need a military ID to use Tricare Prime. You can get a military ID on a military base. I had to travel over 2 hours to get mine. Hopefully, you've got one that is closer. The Tricare Prime plan is FREE to its members while their family member is on active duty. No copays and no premium pays...Thank Goodness! It is well-deserved because the soldier and their family members make huge sacrifices while they are deployed that free health care should be a given and thankfully, it is!
When he got back from deployment, our free health care ended. We had to go back to our horrible health care plan. When he got back we could barely afford it, so we did go without health insurance for a couple months.
After those couple of months, the Army Reserves opened up what is called Tricare Reserve select (TRS). Finally affordable health insurance for reservists and their families! Before Tricare Reserve Select, reservist were only covered when they were drilling with their reserve units and family members were never covered. Tricare Reserve Select is a premium-based health care plan that is absolutely affordable. When we first started it, it costs only $181 per month. Right now it's about $200 a month. The copays are low and we've been extremely impressed with the doctors in the network and happy with the service we've received.
To find out more about Tricare Reserve Select go to: www.tricare.mil/mybenefit/home/overview/Plans/ReserveSelect
When my husband was deployed for the second time, we were put back on Tricare Prime. We were back to FREE health care. It's wonderful except that we have to live without my husband while he's deployed. The only thing that I don't like about Tricare Prime is that we had to switch doctors.
We loved our current pediatrician with Tricare Reserve Select and didn't want to change. When we were put on Tricare Prime we had no choice but to change because our pediatrician wasn't covered under Tricare Prime. We had to fill out the Prime Enrollment or PCM change form (link below) to get assigned to our primary car manager (the primary doctor that we see). Each of my children and myself were assigned to primary care managers in the Tricare Prime network. All of us were given different doctors. Here is the link to the Prime Enrollment or Primary Care Manager Change Form:
My husband is a reservist that has been activated so we don't live on a military base. We actually live over 2 hours away from a military base. Since we live so far from one, the doctors in the Tricare Prime network are very limited in our area. We were left to choose between only a couple of doctors, none of which we have been satisfied with like we were under Tricare Reserve Select. Regardless of our satisfaction, we were getting FREE health care, so we had to just deal with it. Tricare Prime is mostly designed for active duty members and active duty members and their families normally live near or on a military base. So it's not ideal for Army Reservists that get activated like so many do in today's military.
One thing that has saved us through Tricare Prime is TAMP: Transitional Assistance Management Program. It is a program where after your active duty term is up, you can enroll in TAMP. It's 180 additional days on Tricare Prime to give you a chance to get back into regular life and transition back to your normal health insurance. You do need to enroll in this program. You may or may not qualify. You can call Tricare to find out if you qualify. Here are the numbers you will need. Make sure you have your military member's sponsor ID (their social security number) ready:
North Region: 1.877.874.2273
South Region: 1.800.444.5445
West Region: 1.888.874.9378
To find out more about TAMP, please go to: www.tricare.mil/mybenefit/home/overview/.../TAMP