Family enjoys healthy exercise outside

TRICARE 101: Military Health Benefits Basics in Five Minutes or Less

TRICARE is the health care program for almost 9.4 million service members, retirees and their families around the world that provides military health benefits and health care support to ensure mission readiness. Whether you already have TRICARE or are just starting the enrollment process, take the next five minutes to learn the basics, including how to navigate recent changes.

TRICARE enrollment: Important information before getting started

There is a lot to know about the military health care program before you decide which plan is best for you and your family. In 2018, for the first time, TRICARE implemented an open season beginning for 2019 benefits. Here are important items to know.

Available TRICARE plans

There are many different TRICARE plans, but TRICARE Prime and TRICARE Select are the two primary options for active-duty service members and their families. TRICARE Prime Remote works like TRICARE Prime for active-duty service members and their families assigned to geographical regions where there is no military hospital or clinic nearby. In fact, all active-duty service members must enroll in TRICARE Prime – and will never pay out-of-pocket for any type of care within the network. Their family members and other beneficiaries, though, may choose other TRICARE plans and may incur out-of-pocket fees depending on the plan they choose.

See below for brief descriptions of the most common TRICARE plans available for service members, families and retirees. You can also visit the Plans & Eligibility section on TRICARE’s website to find information on all TRICARE plans and to compare plans.

TRICARE Prime add
TRICARE Select add
TRICARE Young Adult add
TRICARE For Life add
TRICARE beneficiaries eligible for Federal Employee Dental and Vision Insurance Program add
TRICARE Reserve Select add

For a comprehensive list of plan details and changes to the TRICARE program, visit the main TRICARE website and see how your health care may be impacted.

While Military OneSource does not directly manage or facilitate any part of the TRICARE health benefits program, we want to make sure that you have all the information you need to make the best decision for you and your family to live your best MilLife.