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Q&A: Does TRICARE Cover Care When Traveling Overseas?

Image of Q&A: Does TRICARE Cover Care When Traveling Overseas?. Know how your TRICARE coverage works overseas so you’ll be ready if you need health care services while traveling.

FALLS CHURCH, Va. – Exploring different countries and cultures is exciting. As you plan your trip, you may have some questions about what coverage TRICARE offers when you travel overseas. It’s important to prepare for your trip with your health care in mind.

“While traveling overseas, the rules for getting care depend on your sponsor status, your health plan, and your location,” said Michael Griffin, program analyst with the TRICARE Overseas Program Office at the Defense Health Agency. “Being prepared to seek health care while traveling is as important as packing the right clothes for your trip. You should know your options for accessing care overseas, as well as what you’ll need to do when you return home.”

The following questions and answers will help you prepare for your trip and learn how to get health care overseas if you need it.

Q: Does TRICARE cover me if I need emergency care?
A: Yes. If you reasonably think you have an emergency, call the emergency number of the country you’re in, or go to the nearest emergency room. The TRICARE Overseas contractor, International SOS, provides 24/7 support if you need urgent or emergency care. Choose the country where you’re located for a list of contact numbers, including the Medical Assistance number.

If you’re admitted to the hospital overnight, notify the TRICARE Overseas Program Regional Call Center within 24 hours or on the next business day. After you return home, contact your health care provider, as you may need follow-up care.

Under certain circumstances, TRICARE may cover air evacuations.

Q: What should I do if I get sick on my trip?
A: For medical conditions that aren’t emergencies but need professional attention within 24 hours or any other nonemergency care, active duty service members must seek care at military hospitals or clinics when possible. Everyone else should follow their health plan’s rules for getting urgent care overseas. If you need to quickly find a provider overseas, use the provider search tool or call International SOS.

If you need medical advice, the Military Health System Nurse Advice Line might be an option. It’s a free service available outside the United States in any country with a military hospital or clinic.

Remember that whatever type of health care you receive, you may need to pay up front and file a claim with the overseas claims processor to be reimbursed. Be sure to keep all receipts associated with your care.

Q: Can I refill a prescription overseas?
A: If you must fill prescription while traveling, remember:

Q: Do I need to purchase additional travel health insurance?
A: No, but it’s a personal decision. If you’re considering buying extra health insurance, keep in mind that all private and travel insurance policies pay before TRICARE. If you get care while traveling overseas, you’ll need to file your claim for reimbursement with your travel insurance first. Then submit the claim to TRICARE, along with the explanation of benefits from your travel insurance provider for the care you received.

Q: What else should I do before I leave on my trip?
A: TRICARE suggests several items to put on your pre-travel to-do list:

  • Before you leave, log in to milConnect and check that your personal and contact information is up to date in the Defense Enrollment Eligibility Reporting System (DEERS). If your information is incorrect in DEERS, it could affect your TRICARE coverage.
  • Get any routine health care needs completed before traveling overseas.
  • Refill your prescriptions before traveling. If you tell your doctor about your upcoming travel, they can authorize up to a 90-day supply. Pack your prescriptions in your carry-on bag so you’ll have them with you if your luggage is delayed or lost.
  • Depending on where you’re traveling, check with your doctor to ensure you’re up to date with all necessary vaccinations. Call well ahead of time so you can schedule an appointment and get vaccinated prior to your departure.
  • Download the TRICARE Contact Wallet Card. It lists the numbers to use if you need health care services or support when traveling.

Planning makes all the difference in creating an enjoyable, stress-free overseas journey. Know how your TRICARE coverage works overseas so you’ll be ready if you need health care services while traveling. Bon voyage!

Would you like the latest TRICARE news sent to you by email? Visit TRICARE Subscriptions, and create your personalized profile to get benefit updates, news, and more.

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Last Updated: June 15, 2023
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