Tricare Information


Honor the Contract

No. 463-99


October 5, 1999


Dr. Sue Bailey, assistant secretary

of defense for Health Affairs, announced today that thousands of

active duty servicemembers who live in the United States but far from

military hospitals and clinics can immediately enroll in a new

program, known as TRICARE Prime Remote.

TRICARE Prime Remote facilitates

access to primary medical care in the local areas where

servicemembers live and work. Active duty personnel who live and work

more than 50 miles from a military hospital or clinic must enroll in

TRICARE Prime Remote. In areas where there are TRICARE network

providers, servicemembers can select a primary care provider from the

network as their Primary Care Manager (PCM). If there are no network

providers, servicemembers may select any local, TRICARE-certified

provider. Servicemembers will no longer need to call the nearest

military hospital or clinic in order to schedule an appointment for

primary care services.

“Our approach in designing the

Prime Remote benefit is to focus on the needs of the servicemembers

and their commanders,” says Bailey. “We understand that

duty in a remote area brings its own hardships. So when our

servicemembers are sick, we want them to see their doctors without

the hassle of long-distance phone calls or requirements to travel

unreasonable distances.”

“When specialty care is needed,

either the primary care doctor or service member must call and get an

authorization,” continued Bailey. “Additionally, there will

be instances when we will need to determine if the medical condition

will impact a member’s fitness for duty.” Authorization for

specialty care is obtained from the regional contractor.

“I want to stress,

however, that in the event of an emergency, servicemembers should

seek medical care immediately,” Bailey emphasized. In these

cases, pre-authorization is not required, but authorization must be

obtained within 24 hours following the emergency.

The most important action that

servicemembers must take is to enroll in the program. Units will be

receiving enrollment packets that include an enrollment form for each

assigned member. In the event a unit or service member does not

receive an enrollment packet, the service member or commander should

call the regional contractor to get enrollment forms and other

information on TRICARE Prime Remote. These toll-free phone numbers

are listed at the end of this release.

If servicemembers live in remote

areas and have not yet enrolled, they still have their medical

benefits. When they need non-emergency medical care, they should call

the regional contractor at the number below to get an authorization.

The regional contractor will also ensure the service member receives

an enrollment form and other information on TRICARE Prime Remote.

Under TRICARE Prime Remote,

and mental health services are covered benefits. Pre-authorization

for mental health care is required and may be obtained by calling the

toll-free contractor number. Services such as toll-free health care

information lines, access to preferred provider networks, utilization

of regional Health Care Finders are all services available to

military members in remote areas. The same TRICARE contractors that

handle family member claims will now handle medical claims processing

services for all active duty servicemembers.

TRICARE Prime Remote includes dental

care benefits. Servicemembers in remote areas may obtain care from

any licensed dentist (or VA facility where dental care is available

to servicemembers). Specialty dental care, like medical care, must be

approved before treatment. However, unlike medical care, the Military

Medical Support Office (MMSO), Great Lakes Naval Station, Ill., will

approve dental specialty care. The MMSO will also process and pay all

military claims for dental care.

DoD established the MMSO, a joint

service office, as part of the TRICARE Prime Remote initiative. The

Navy serves as executive agent with medical representatives from the

Army, Navy, Air Force and Coast Guard on the staff. The MMSO, like

the regional contractors, provides 24-hour, 7-day a week service to

military members who have questions about obtaining civilian health

care or who experience an emergency hospitalization. The MMSO will

help guide callers to the appropriate regional contractor. The MMSO

can be reached at 1-888-MHS-MMSO (1-888-647-6676) or at their

website, .

At this time, family members are not

eligible for TRICARE Prime Remote. However, there are some programs

for family members in remote areas in Regions 1 (Northeast), 2

(Mid-Atlantic), 5 (Heartland) and 11 (Northwest). The Department is

studying various options for expanding family member choices in the

coming year. In the meantime, family members continue to have TRICARE

Standard, and they may use TRICARE Extra in areas where network

providers are available.

Personnel serving in remote areas

overseas will continue to be served by the TRICARE Overseas Lead

Agents (Europe, Pacific, and Latin America) in the same manner as

previously arranged for remote units.

Additional information about TRICARE

Prime Remote can be obtained by calling the following toll-free

numbers, or by visiting the TRICARE Prime Remote website: .

Northeast (Region 1)

Mid-Atlantic (Region 2)

Southeast (Region 3)

Gulfsouth (Region 4)

Heartland (Region 5)

Southwest (Region 6)

Central (Regions 7/8)

Southern California (Region 9) and

Golden Gate (Region 10)

Northwest (Region 11)

Pacific (Region 12), Alaska and Hawaii