Tricare changes ease access to care for those in remote locations
KAISERSLAUTERN, Germany — The military’s health care program plans to take better care of servicemembers stationed at remote locations around the world.
Tricare’s Prime Remote program allows servicemembers and their families to use enrolled health providers anywhere in the world without paying cash up front or filing claims, according to Maj. Wayne White, the Tricare Europe remote health care director.
Tricare Management activities recently announced that International SOS Assistance Inc. received a multimillion-dollar contract to manage remote health care.
Tricare awarded the contract for one year, and it could cost the government between $2 million to $5.8 million, depending on the amount of care managed per year. The contract has a four-year renewal option, according to a contract press release.
The contract mostly affects servicemembers working at embassies, but also includes those assigned to a few other overseas locations, White said.
Tricare officials have not finalized the list of locations where the contract applies, but a remote location is anywhere more than 50 miles or more than a one-hour drive from a military treatment facility, officials said.
Tricare already offers Prime Remote to servicemembers stationed at select locations in the U.S. Central Command region. The new contract expands that service to locations worldwide, said Troy Kitch, the Tricare Europe spokesman.
The contract covers all three Tricare overseas regions — Europe, Pacific and Latin America — plus Canada, Kitch said.
The program provides routine, urgent and emergency medical and dental care for active-duty servicemembers, and routine, urgent and emergency medical care for family members.
The program also covers medical and dental care for servicemembers on temporary duty or leave while in remote overseas locations, Kitch said.
Servicemembers do not need to complete any special actions to sign up for the program, White said. Officials at the remote locations take care of enrolling members and their families when the servicemembers arrive and in-process, he said.
Tricare and the new contractor are hoping to have the program running in new locations by August or September, White said.
“While the transition to the new service won’t happen overnight, we’re excited about the progress that's being made,” he said.