The 10 Best Medical Benefits for the Military & Their Families
Ranking the Best Medical Benefits for Members of the Military and Their Families
TRICARE is an essential aspect of your military benefits, and a big part of being a service member. TRICARE is the health care program of the United States Department of Defense Military Health System. Within TRICARE and the military as a whole, there are many different medical benefits. Here are 10 of the best of those.
1) Breast Pumps and Supplies
TRICARE offers breast pumps, breast pump supplies, and breastfeeding counseling at no cost to new military moms. This includes service member moms, as well as military spouses, and every branch, qualifies, including the National Guard and Reserves. This benefit allows for one breast pump for every birth event, either birth or adoption.
2) United Concordia
United Concordia administers the TRICARE Dental benefit. This is separate from the rest of TRICARE. You would use your Department of Defense Self-Service login to create your account. The monthly premiums are based on the sponsor’s military status and type of enrollment.
3) Pharmacy Benefit
When it comes to using a pharmacy, you can use the military pharmacy at no cost or go to a local pharmacy. The big ones are Kroger, Publix, Walgreens, Rite Aid, and CVS. You can also use TRICARE Pharmacy Home Delivery, pretty much anywhere you might be stationed.
4) TRICARE for National Guard and Reserves
If you serve in the National Guard or the Reserves, you can still use TRICARE. You will have to pay a monthly premium to get what is called TRICARE Reserve Select. As of 2022, the cost is $229.99/month for the service member and family and $46.70/month for individuals.
5) Military Crisis Line
The Military Crisis Line is a phone number, online chat, and text-message service that is free to service members including the National Guard and Reserves, and veterans. You don’t have to be registered with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) or enrolled in a VA health care to use the line.
6) WIC Overseas
WIC or the Women, Infants, and Children Overseas Program provide families with nutritious food, tips on how to prepare balanced meals, nutrition and health screenings, and other resources that help you and your family lead healthier lives. WIC Overseas is available to civilian employees, DoD contractors, family members, and members of the uniformed services.
ECHO stands for Extended Care Health Option and provides financial assistance to beneficiaries with special needs to an integrated set of services and supplies. You must be enrolled in EFMP (Exceptional Family Member Program) through the sponsor’s branch of service. Eligible beneficiaries are those who are diagnosed with moderate or severe intellectual disabilities, a serious physical disability, or an extraordinary physical or psychological condition.
8) TRICARE Young Adult
TRICARE Young Adult is for qualified adult children. It can be purchased after eligibility for regular TRICARE coverage ends at age 21(or 23 if in college). They must be unmarried and an adult child of an eligible sponsor. They must also be 21, but not yet 26 years old, and not eligible for enrollment in an employer-sponsored health plan based on their own employment. They also can’t be otherwise eligible for TRICARE. You can choose between Select and Prime and there will be monthly premiums and the plan and sponsor’s status determine what you pay for covered services.
9) TRICARE Autism Care Demonstration (ACD)
The TRICARE Autism Care Demonstration covers the applied behavior analysis (ABA) series. This began on July 25, 2014, and was authorized to run through December 31, 2023. You must be enrolled in a TRICARE health plan and diagnosed with ASD by an approved provider. The changes that were made in 2021 worked to develop a more comprehensive ACD program that addresses the needs of all beneficiaries with ACD and integrates all potential services for the best possible outcomes. You can read more about it here.
10) TRICARE for Life
TRICARE for Life is a Medicare wraparound coverage for TRICARE-eligible beneficiaries who have Medicare Part A and B. Coverage is automatic if you do have Medicare Part A and B, and you must pay Medicare Part B premiums. There are no enrollment fees and premiums are based on income. Coverage is available worldwide.
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About the author
Julie Provost is a freelance writer, blogger, and owner of Soldier's Wife, Crazy Life, a support blog for military spouses. She lives in Tennessee with her National Guard husband and three boys.