By Cathy Artino
Accidents and illnesses can happen any time, even when you're on vacation. If you're planning on traveling across the U.S. or around the world, TRICARE's resources can help make your trip stress-free.
“First, fill all of your prescriptions and have any necessary routine care before you travel,” says Allen Carter, TRICARE beneficiary counseling and assistance coordinator. “TRICARE does not cover routine care when you're outside your area, so you'll end up paying out of pocket for any routine care you receive.”
Next, know which TRICARE coverage plan you have, and visit www.tricare.mil before hitting the road. You can select your coverage and learn specific guidelines you need to follow when receiving care away from home.
If you've taken all preventive measures but still have to seek medical care while traveling, don't panic. “If your life, limbs, or eyesight are in jeopardy, go to the nearest emergency room, regardless of where you are,” Carter says.
For those who aren't sure whether their situation warrants a trip to the ER or urgent care, Carter suggests calling the Nurse Advice Line at (800) 874-2273. Registered nurses are on hand 24 hours a day, seven days a week, to answer questions, give advice, and assist beneficiaries with scheduling an appointment with their primary care manager.
Carter says you shouldn't stress about receiving care while away from home, but do some research before you leave. “Bottom line: Before you travel, receive routine care, talk to a beneficiary counseling and assistance coordinator if you have questions, and make sure you download the TRICARE Important Contact Information card. TRICARE counselors are always available to assist you if you have questions regarding any medical issues you have while traveling or to help you prepare for any sort of scenario before you travel.”