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Health Care

Moving with TRICARE

When you move, TRICARE moves with you. It's there before, during and when you get to your next duty station. It's available worldwide. There are steps you need to take to make sure changes to your TRICARE coverage go smoothly. With your move, you may have to use a different TRICARE option.

Please note:

  • You and your family members have to show as TRICARE eligible in the Defense Enrollment Eligibility Reporting System, or DEERS.
  • For TRICARE plan information, visit the TRICARE Plan Information Kits page.
  • Regional and overseas contractor information is available on TRICARE's Contact Us page.
  • Print out the TRICARE contact wallet card and keep it with you.
  • Always keep personal contact information current in DEERS, especially your address and email.

Prime options

Prime options in the United States

If you live in a Prime Service Area, then TRICARE Prime is an option for you. A Prime Service Area is usually within a 40-mile area of a military clinic or hospital. With Prime, you have a primary care manager, who may be a military or civilian doctor or a team of doctors, who manages your health care needs.

Some active-duty family members may enroll in the U.S. Family Health Plan, or USFHP. The USFHP offers a TRICARE Prime-like option in six areas of the United States. You'll get all care (including prescription drug coverage) from a network provider. With the USFHP, you can't get care at military hospitals and clinics or from TRICARE network providers (emergency exceptions). You have to work with USFHP when get care overseas. Visit the U.S. Family Health Plan page for more information.

If you don't live in a Prime Service Area, TRICARE Prime Remote is your other option. Eligible family members have to live with their active-duty sponsor (with some exceptions) to enroll in TRICARE Prime Remote. In most cases, your primary care manager is a network provider. If there's no local network provider, you can choose any TRICARE-authorized provider to act as your primary care manager.

Prime options overseas (including U.S. territories)

In overseas locations, you have two options for care:

  • TRICARE Overseas Program-Prime is for active-duty service members assigned overseas. Units are near military clinics and hospitals. To enroll in in the program, family members must be command-sponsored. Your primary care manager is a military provider or team of providers.
  • TRICARE Overseas Program-Prime Remote is available in certain remote overseas locations. It's for assigned active-duty service members and their command-sponsored family members. Your primary care manager is the overseas contractor who you contact through regional and country specific call centers.

Note: Active-duty service members must enroll in a Prime option.

When you know you're going to move, call your current TRICARE stateside overseas contractor. Find out if your new location is in a new region and talk about your TRICARE options.

Transferring your TRICARE Prime/Prime Remote coverage

When you move, your Prime options may change. You have to transfer your enrollment if you move to a different region. Some family members may have to disenroll and use TRICARE Standard. Options may vary for each family member. Remember, to enroll in a Prime option overseas, family members must be command-sponsored.

If you move within your current region, you still need to find out if your Prime option changes. You may only need to get a new primary care manager. Again, call your current TRICARE regional or USFHP contractor to talk about your move and your TRICARE options. Follow these steps to transfer your enrollment by phone:

  • Call your current TRICARE regional or USFHP contractor to transfer your enrollment or get a new primary care manager. The contractor will ask about you, your family, where you're moving to and the estimated date you'll get to your new duty station. Your current contractor then shares your information with your new contractor. If you only need a new primary care manager, they will work with you to make that happen. Your new contractor will call you within five business days of your expected arrival date to discuss your Prime enrollment and primary care manager options. Your enrollment transfer will be the day your new contractor calls and you agree to the transfer. It may take up to four business days to record your transfer. You will still have Prime coverage with your old region until the transfer is complete.
  • Update your address in DEERS as soon as you get to your new location, even if you're in temporary housing.
  • Log into milConnect to check on your enrollment. You can see who your primary care manager is and print out an enrollment card.

Note: Don't disenroll from Prime before you move.

Other ways to transfer your enrollment include:

  • Transfer your enrollment online using TRICARE's Beneficiary Web Enrollment Tool. The Beneficiary Web Enrollment Tool will be available in 2016 for those moving stateside from an overseas location. In the Beneficiary Web Enrollment Tool, you can set a date up to 90 days in the future as your enrollment transfer date.
  • Call your new contractor when you arrive in your new duty location. They can transfer your enrollment over the phone.
  • Download an enrollment form and mail it to the regional contractor for your new region. Remember to note the date you want the transfer to go into effect. Enrollment information for the USFHP is available on the U.S. Family Health Plan page.
  • Enroll when you in-process at your new duty location.

To learn more, visit the TRICARE Moving page.

TRICARE Standard and Extra

TRICARE Standard and Extra is an option for active-duty family members. You don't have to enroll—coverage is automatic as long as you show as TRICARE eligible in DEERS. With TRICARE Standard or Extra you can see any TRICARE-authorized provider, non-network or network. You pay a deductible and costs shares.

  • If you visit a non-network provider, you're use the Standard option. You may have to pay in full up front and file a claim for reimbursement.
  • If you visit a network provider, you're using the Extra option. You only need to pay your cost share at your appointment.

If you're a family member and don't want to enroll in TRICARE Overseas Program-Prime, or can't enroll because you're not command-sponsored, you have TRICARE Overseas Program-Standard. You can see any civilian provider (except in the Philippines).
If you want or have to use TRICARE Standard when you move, call the new regional contractor to disenroll from Prime when you get to your new location.

If you already using TRICARE Standard and Extra:

If you're in a new region, the claims address changes. Check the TRICARE Filing Claims page for your new mailing address.

TRICARE For Life

TRICARE For Life is for those who have Medicare and TRICARE. You don't have to enroll - coverage is automatic as long as you show in DEERS as TRICARE-eligible and have Medicare Part A and Part B if needed. When you go to a Medicare doctor, show your Medicare and uniformed service identification cards. Your provider files your claims with Medicare. Medicare pays first and sends the claim to the TRICARE For Life claims processor. TRICARE then pays second for TRICARE-covered services.

If you're an active-duty family member, you don't have to have Medicare Part B to keep your TRICARE benefits. You must have Part B to keep TRICARE once your sponsor retires.

When you move, update your personal information in DEERS as soon as possible. To find a new provider:

  • If you are within the United States or in U.S. territories (Guam, Puerto Rico, the Northern Mariana Islands, American Samoa or the U.S. Virgin Islands), you can search the Medicare Provider Directory or call 800-633-4227 to find a Medicare-certified provider. Visit the Medicare website or the TRICARE For Life website to learn more.
  • If you are at an overseas location, TRICARE For Life works a little differently. Medicare doesn't pay for care overseas, TRICARE is your primary payer. You may get care from any civilian provider. You pay up front and then file a claim with the TRICARE overseas contractor. You have to pay TRICARE Standard deductibles and cost shares. You can find a provider through the TRICARE Overseas website or call the overseas regional call center.

Getting care along the way

Before you move, take care of any routine medical needs, including immunizations. Fill your prescriptions so you have enough while traveling. TRICARE defines emergency care as "medical services provided for a sudden or unexpected medical or psychiatric condition or the sudden worsening of a chronic condition that is threatening to life, limb or sight and needs immediate medical treatment or a condition which has painful symptoms that need immediate relief to stop suffering." TRICARE defines urgent care as "medical care for a condition that will not result in disability or death if not treated immediately but should be treated within 24 hours to avoid further complications."

  • Emergency care when stateside – If you require emergency care while traveling in the United States, call 911 or go to the nearest emergency room. Then call your primary care manager or regional contractor within 24 hours of being seen.
  • Urgent care when stateside – If you require urgent care while traveling in the United States, are using a Prime option and you're close to a military hospital or clinic, go there. You have priority access and you don't need a referral to be seen. Otherwise, if you have Prime, call or contact your primary care manager for a referral and authorization. If you don't get a referral and authorization before being seen, you'll pay the higher point-of-service deductible and cost share. If you have Prime Remote and don't have an assigned primary care manager, call the provider that acts are your primary provider or call your regional contractor.
  • Emergency care when overseas – For emergency care, go to the nearest emergency care location. If you're using TRICARE Overseas Program-Prime or Prime Remote, call International SOS Medical Assistance within 24 hours or on the next business day to get an authorization for the visit and needed ongoing care, and claims payment information.
  • Urgent care when overseas – For urgent care, go to the nearest military clinic or hospital if possible. Visit a U.S. embassy or call the overseas regional call center. You need an authorization before you see a civilian provider. The call center can help you find one. Without an authorization, you'll end up paying a higher point-of-service deductible and cost share. Your claim may be denied if you're an active-duty member. More information is available on the TRICARE Service Center and TRICARE Area Office websites.

If you're using TRICARE Standard or TRICARE For Life, you may get urgent care from any TRICARE-authorized provider. If it's after clinic hours or you're not sure if you need to see a doctor, call TRICARE's Nurse Advice Line at 800-874-2273.

Filling prescriptions while traveling

If you run out of a prescription drug while traveling, contact your military or civilian provider. If you have refills on a military clinic prescription, check to see if your prescription can be moved to and filled by another military treatment facility. If you have refills on your prescription with a major retail pharmacy chain, check with the chain to see if they can transfer your prescription to a local chain pharmacy. If you have refills on a drug you get through TRICARE home delivery, call the TRICARE pharmacy contractor to see what can be done.

  • If you are within the United States or in U.S. territories and a doctor puts you on a new drug, fill your prescription at a military pharmacy or TRICARE retail network pharmacy. If you are Prime and use a non-network pharmacy, you pay the higher point-of-service deductible and cost share. You may have to pay out of pocket for your drug(s). If so, file a claim with the TRICARE pharmacy contractor. If you are still in an overseas Prime option, you file your claim with the overseas contractor.
  • If you are at an overseas location, and a doctor puts you on a new drug, fill your prescription at a military pharmacy or go to a civilian pharmacy. You will likely have to pay out of pocket. You file your claim with the TRICARE overseas contractor, even if you are enrolled in a stateside Prime option.

Getting dental care while traveling

Getting dental care while traveling depends on your location and whether you are a service member of family member.

  • If you are an active-duty service member within the United States or in U.S. territories, you can receive dental care at a military dental clinic. Contact the Active Duty Dental Care Program before you see a dentist and tell the contractor about your move. You will need to get an authorization before you see a dentist. The Active Duty Dental Care Program will work with you so you can get care from a local network dentist. For dental emergencies, go to a military dental clinic if possible. If not, get care from any civilian network dentist and have the dentist give you paperwork showing what he or she did during the visit. Make sure you get the dentist's contact information and call the Active Duty Dental Care Program contractor immediately to let them know about your care so they can work with you to make sure they can pay the claim.
  • If you are an active-duty service at an overseas location, you can call the overseas regional call center to get authorization before you see a civilian dentist.
  • If you are an active-duty family member within the United States, in U.S. territories or at an overseas location, you can find out if any nearby military dental treatment facility treats active-duty family members. If you're enrolled in the TRICARE Dental Program, call the TRICARE Dental Program contractor or visit their website to find a provider. You will need to get an authorization before you see the dentist.

Permanent change of station for active-duty service members

With permanent change of station orders, ask for a copy of your medical and dental records from your personnel office, providers/dentists, and medical or dental clinics. Do this at least one month before your permanent change of station date. This way you may be able to carry records to your new duty station.

You may ask providers or the military clinic to transfer your family's medical records to the military hospital or clinic nearest to your new duty station. You may ask to have copies of their records to carry with you or them as well. (You may have to pay to get their records copied.) If you want someone else to be able to get medical or dental information on you or your family while you are moving, you need to complete a DD Form 2870, "Authorization for Disclosure of Medical or Dental Information."

Find more about moving, updating DEERS, the TRICARE regions, pharmacy, dental and much more through the TRICARE website or the TRICARE Moving page.

Installation Specific Information

Overseas Medical Clearance

Family members are screened for medical and dental conditions which require continued or special treatment before being cleared for accompanied status overseas. This is accomplished via the AF Force Form 1466. Denial of accompanied status means that the best interest of the family member cannot be met in the overseas location. Educational needs are also screened on the AF Form 1466 and it is important that the overseas school system be able to provide an adequate education for children, especially for those with special needs.

Once Exceptional Family Member Program (EFMP) clearance has been granted, it is up to the service member to decide whether a move to the UK is appropriate for his/her special needs family. The above information is not meant to discourage anyone from accepting an assignment to RAF Alconbury, but rather to give a realistic picture and allow one to make a more informed assignment decision.

Installation Hospital - RAF Alconbury Clinic

The 423rd Medical Squadron is a modern clinic staffed with medical and dental professionals whose charter is to keep you and your family physically and mentally fit during your tour here.

The 423rd Medical Squadron is an outpatient facility. Their role is to provide routine medical and dental services within the capability of their resources. Specialty services are limited and require referral to either military or civilian facilities. The British system of health care is built around the General Practitioner (GP) or family doctor. Subscribers to the National Health Service are assigned to, or choose their own GP. They consult him/her first before seeking any other medical advice or treatment.

The British equivalent to an emergency room is the Accident and Emergency department (A&E), or Casualty. A&E is for emergencies. In true emergencies, any British emergency room will treat patients who arrive there for care. You are entitled to emergency care under the Status of Forces Agreement between the UK and US. In non-emergencies, you may be referred back to the 423rd Medical Squadron for a routine appointment. Please note that even though you may perceive your case as an emergency, the civilian medical facility may advise you to seek care at the clinic. You will be briefed about the new Tri-Care medical system upon your arrival.

Dental Care

The Dental Services available at RAF Upwood should meet the needs of most service members and their families. There are two dental officers assigned for all branches of the military and their family member beneficiaries.

Routine care including an annual dental examination and cleaning for active duty and family member is provided at the clinic. The annual examination for family members is scheduled during their sponsor's birth month.

Emergency dental care for any family member (regardless of age) or active duty member who is experiencing dental pain/injury or has a dental concern may call the clinic and schedule an acute appointment to address their special need. These appointments are available on a daily basis.

Specialty care (dental crowns, root canals, and teeth extractions) for family members is limited depending on the active duty workload. Despite this, these services have historically been provided to meet most family members, needs.

Orthodontics is extremely limited, there are no orthodontists assigned at RAF Upwood. An Orthodontist from RAF Lakenheath visits the clinic monthly. Priority for care is based on several factors but, those patients in active treatment (fixed braces) started prior to notification of assignment overseas receive the highest priority and utilize most of the limited available appointments. Another option for orthodontic care is through the TRICARE Active Duty Family Dental Plan.

National Health Service (NHS)

Under the NATO Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA), all US military or DoD members and family members residing in the UK are entitled to care through the National Health Service, free of charge. In general, if services cannot be provided to you through the resources of the RAF Alconbury Clinic then you may be referred to NHS resources.

Active personnel are reminded that if civilian health care (care obtained without a referral from your PCM) is provided, they are to inform their PCM of the care provided within three duty days. Although services are generally provided free of charge under the NHS, for purely elective evaluations or procedures you may be placed on a long waiting list for services. If you desire to be seen privately for healthcare, and you wish the cost to be covered by TRICARE, you will have to be referred by your PCM.

Getting Care Along the Way

Emergency or Urgent care Overseas—Contact International SOS (ISOS)

For emergency or urgent care call International SOS at 00-44-20-8762-8133 to help you find the best care available in the overseas area in which you are traveling.


Associated Links

DS Logon (formerly DEERS)
TRICARE beneficiaries can electronically link to their medical records, pay and human resource systems and other websites.

TRICARE
Find out everything you need to know about your medical benefits.

Beneficiary Counseling Assistance Coordinator
A BCAC educates beneficiaries, and enhances a thorough understanding of TRICARE programs.

TRICARE Mobile App for Pharmacy Assistance
Check prescriptions status; order home delivery; find a pharmacy and more all from your phone. You must be registered before downloading the mobile app.

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