Retirees and active military receive health insurance through the government’s Department of Defense. Government health care has a large range of group health insurance programs to meet the needs of active duty military and retirees, their families, and veterans who are eligible.
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According to Kaiser Education the Department of Defense has purchased and provided almost 8.3 million people with health care. The Department of Veterans Affairs also aids in the operation of the military health insurance programs.
What is the history behind military health insurance?
Before the 1980s, military health insurance was more basic. Those with military health insurance received treatment through military medical facilities or through a program called Civilian Health and Medical Program Uniformed Services or CHAMPUS.
As early as the 1880s, the government made sure that military family members and military officers received medical treatment from either contract surgeons or medical officers of the Army. However, this proved to be more difficult during World War II because many soldiers who were drafted had wives of a young childbearing age.
The medical care system of the military couldn’t handle the treatment needed for childbirth and infant care. With this change in need the government established state run health departments to service pregnant women and infants up to one year for those military members families.
These needs increased during the Korean War. Improvements were made to try and control costs of medical care for military members and their families. The health care insurance program that ended up replacing the old is now known as TRICARE and has improved health care for military members and their families.
What are the types of TRICARE health insurance programs?
According to Military.com there are three programs to choose from with TRICARE health insurance. They are the following: TRICARE Standard, TRICARE Extra and TRICARE Prime.
These programs provide benefits for retirees, active duty workers and guard and reserve members called to active duty and their certain family members. Those military members who are active duty are automatically signed up for TRICARE Prime. Certain family members also receive outpatient and inpatient care through civilian services.
These include family members of service members who are uniformed active duty, family members of service retirees and those uniformed members who died either during retirement or while on active duty, and for certain individuals who are separated or divorced from military service members.
What are the advantages of TRICARE Prime?
There are no enrollment fees for TRICARE prime for those members who are active duty and their families. There are Point of Service (POS) insurance options for those interested.
To help with the logistics of the health insurance, members are provided with a primary care manager who will see to the health care needs of members and their families. With TRICARE Prime those members who are sent overseas will still have away from home coverage in emergency situations. There is also a reduced catastrophic cap for retirees which is $3,000.
What are the advantages of TRICARE Extra?
TRICARE Extra doesn’t have annual fees or enrollment fees, but there is an annual deductible for outpatient care. Some of the other advantages include no balance billing, health care copayments that are lower than TRICARE Standard, no deductibles when utilizing the retail pharmacy network and also the ability to use TRICARE Standard alongside TRICARE Extra.
What are the advantages of TRICARE Standard?
TRICARE Standard offers the most flexibility among the three TRICARE options. This is because it is a fee for service option where members can use any TRICARE provider who is authorized. This option is not available to those members who are active duty.
Alongside being the most flexible option it also has the widest range of providers and no enrollment fees. TRICARE Extra can be used alongside TRICARE Standard; this option is widely available.
Many times members who have a specific civilian health care provider they are happy with will choose the TRICARE Standard option. This ensures they are able to stay with the same health care provider, but can also utilize the advantages the TRICARE programs offer.
There are also many retirees and their families that live in areas where the TRICARE Prime networks are not available. Because of this TRICARE Standard is the only option to utilize.
Another great benefit of TRICARE Standard is that it can be used as secondary coverage for those members who already have employer sponsored insurance.
To research health insurance rates you can use your zip code to get quick and easy quotes.