Tricare Military Healthcare Services: All That You Need to Know

Jul 17, 2024

Healthcare Services

Tricare Military Healthcare Services: All That You Need to Know

Tricare is a healthcare program for service members, retirees, and their families. It offers a range of services to meet the healthcare needs of the military community. According to recent data, Tricare has 9.5 million beneficiaries worldwide. It ensures healthcare benefits for those who serve the country. Let us learn more about Tricare Healthcare below

Understanding Tricare Military Healthcare Program

Tricare is a healthcare program for the military division and their families. Managed by the Defense Health Agency, Tricare provides a network of medical professionals and facilities to confirm that military families receive the necessary medical care. This network is distributed into different regions so that all uniformed personnel can receive healthcare benefits irrespective of their posting location. 

A Brief Timeline of Military Healthcare in the U.S.

The provision of military healthcare in the United States has deep roots, dating back to the early years of the nation's history. Since the initial years of U.S. history, the government has been committed to providing medical care to military personnel. Over time, notable milestones have marked the evolution of this essential service:

  • 1884

    Army medical officers and surgeons started offering free medical care to soldiers and their families.

  • 1940

    Congress introduced the Emergency Maternal and Infant Care program during World War 2 for service members' wives and children.

  • 1956

    The Dependents' Medical Care Act was enacted during the Korean War, laying a foundation for military healthcare benefits.

  • 1966

    The Dependents' Medical Care Act evolved into the Civilian Health and Medical Program of the Uniformed Services (CHAMPUS).

  • 1988

    The CHAMPUS Reform Initiative (CRI) was introduced as a pilot program to test managed care concepts within the military health system.

  • 1994

    Tricare was formally established to integrate military treatment facilities with civilian healthcare providers.

  • 1998

    The CHAMPUS program was replaced with Tricare following a modernization of military healthcare services

  • 2001

    The Tricare for Life (TFL) program was introduced, providing secondary coverage to Medicare for eligible uniformed service members.

  • 2017

    Tricare underwent notable reforms, facilitating its plans into Tricare Prime and Tricare Select.

  • 2025

    A new Tricare contract will start with greater provider network flexibility, improved beneficiary choice, and improved telehealth appointments.

Tricare was later updated to enhance access to care and simplify the system for beneficiaries​. Having seen the glorious history of military healthcare and Tricare services, let us understand how Tricare provides its services to the beneficiaries.

How Tricare Provides Service

Tricare services are delivered through a structured system to ensure beneficiaries receive continued support and high-quality care. Here’s how it works:

  • Network of Providers

    Tricare collaborates with military and civilian healthcare providers to offer various medical services.

  • Regional Management

    The program is divided into regions, each managed by a contractor who oversees the network and ensures service quality.

  • Plan Options

    Beneficiaries can choose from plans like Tricare Prime, Tricare Select, and Tricare For Life, each catering to different needs.

  • Special Programs

    Tricare includes additional services such as dental, vision, mental health care, and support for families with special needs.

  • Telehealth Services

    Expanded access to virtual healthcare, making it easier for beneficiaries to receive care remotely.

Eligibility for Tricare

Eligibility for Tricare military is extended to active duty service members, National Guard and reserve members, and their relatives. The list of beneficiaries may include:

  • Uniformed Service Members

    Active duty, National Guard, reserve members, retirees, medal of honor recipients, and their families are eligible.

  • National Guard and Reserve Members

    Eligibility depends on orders and status, including active duty orders for more than 30 days.

  • Retirees

    Retired service members and their families may be eligible depending on their status and age.

  • Family Members

    Spouses and children of eligible sponsors are typically covered.

  • Survivors

    Eligibility extends to survivors of deceased service members under certain conditions.

  • Medal of Honor Recipients

    Recipients and their families are eligible.

  • Others

    Certain former spouses, Medal of Honor recipients' caregivers, and others may qualify under specific circumstances.

Features and Benefits of the Tricare Program

Military families covered by the Tricare network can use numerous specialized services. The beneficiary specific category and location determine eligibility for different benefits. Let us see the plans and their benefits below:

Tricare Prime


Offers all-around coverage, including doctor visits, hospital stays, and preventive care. Beneficiaries have a Primary Care Manager (PCM) who coordinates care and referrals.


Ensures simplified treatment process for beneficiaries and lower out-of-pocket costs, making it a cost-effective option.

Tricare Select


Provides flexibility in choosing healthcare providers without needing referrals. Covers a wide range of medical services, from routine check-ups to specialty care.


It offers extensive coverage and more provider choices, though it has higher out-of-pocket costs than Tricare Prime.

Tricare For Life


Acts as a supplement to Medicare for eligible beneficiaries, covering expenses not paid by Medicare, including copayments and deductibles.


Minimizes out-of-pocket expenses for seniors and eligible beneficiaries, ensuring comprehensive healthcare coverage.

Tricare Reserve Select


Available to reservists, offering affordable healthcare coverage similar to Tricare Select. Includes all medical benefits.


A premium-based plan available worldwide; It provides budget-friendly insurance for part-time service members, securing reliable healthcare services.

Other Programs and Benefits

  • Tricare Select Overseas program
  • Tricare Young Adult (TYA) program
  • Pharmacy benefits with Tricare
  • Tricare dental programs
  • VA medical care
  • Parenting and pregnancy resources
  • Mental health programs and resources
  • Health and wellness programs and resources

Tricare Military Healthcare Services

Tricare is a comprehensive program that offers medical attention and healthcare benefits for those who serve the nation. The various plans include numerous cost-effective options for providing complete care for the uniformed and retired members and their families. Understanding these options and eligibility could help you find the best plan for your needs.

8-2-8 Urgent Care: Proud Providers of Tricare Healthcare

At  8-2-8 Urgent Care, we believe in supporting those who made our nation proud. We offer expert medical care under our Tricare Military Health program. Our Tricare plans include options for all dependents of active military members and retired military members. Learn more about our commitment to national healthcare through Tricare here. Contact 828 Urgent Care at 760-216-6253, and our staff will walk you through our self-check-in from the comfort of your home.

Content Source: Health.mil

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