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New Handbook Lets Guardsmen See TRICARE Plans

04-28-24 WR TRICARE Handbook WEBSITE
04-28-24 WR TRICARE Handbook WEBSITE
Washington Report

A new handbook exists to help National Guardsmen and Reservists choose their TRICARE health care coverage, according to the Defense Health Agency.

The publication — which is titled "The TRICARE Choices for National Guard and Reserve Handbook" — is available now, the DHA said in an April 25 press release.

"The TRICARE Choices for National Guard and Reserve Handbook is a good starting point to see which plans are available to you stateside and overseas," said Robert Agnello, the DHA’s deputy director of digital communications.

"You’ll also find information about prescription drug coverage and options for dental and vision coverage," he added.

TRICARE is the Pentagon’s program for providing civilian health care benefits to the U.S. military’s personnel and retirees and their dependents.

But the large number of duty statuses that Guardsmen and Reservists may operate under can make navigating TRICARE challenging.

For example, the DHA’s new handbook covers six TRICARE options that are available depending on the status of each Guardsman or their sponsor.

Take the non-activated status, which covers personnel who are on inactive duty for training, yearly training or otherwise on active duty for 30 days or less.

The pre-activation/activated status applies to personnel who are called or ordered to active duty for more than 30 days.

These Guardsmen or reservists must be participating in a federal preplanned mission or in support of a contingency operation.

Pre-activation service members may additionally be eligible for active-duty health and dental care benefits up to 180 days before active duty begins.

The deactivated status includes service members who have been released from a period of active duty and are in a not activated status.

The retired status applies to retired Guardsmen and reservists and their dependents.

Once service members select their sponsor status, their age and location may also impact their TRICARE picks.

The new handbook lists the following TRICARE options for Guardsmen, reservists and their family members:

  • TRICARE Reserve Select.
  • TRICARE Retired Reserve.
  • TRICARE Prime, including TRICARE Prime Remote or the US Family Health Plan.
  • TRICARE Select.
  • TRICARE for Life.
  • TRICARE Young Adult.

The DHA’s latest TRICARE handbook also explains the pharmacy, dental and vision coverage Guardsmen and reservists may be eligible for.

All TRICARE beneficiaries get prescription drug coverage through the TRICARE Pharmacy Program.

The handbook details how TRICARE covers different categories of prescription drugs, and the options service members have for filling their prescriptions.

The document additionally covers the TRICARE Dental Program and the Federal Employees Dental and Vision Insurance Program.

Besides these options, Guardsmen and reservists may be eligible for the Active Duty Dental Program in some cases.

NGAUS considers zero-cost TRICARE and dental care to ensure the reserve component’s medical readiness a legislative priority.

In recent years, the Guard’s operational tempo and its number of no-notice deployments have both increased.

Continuous, zero-cost health and dental care would help Guardsmen and reservists maintain their medical readiness at home and overseas.

— By Mark Hensch