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ARLINGTON, Va. — Servicemembers and their families living overseas and far from medical treatment facilities now will have an easier time getting the health care they need, officials said.

Under a new Tricare global remote overseas contract signed between the Defense Department and a company called International SOS Assistance Inc., patients’ access to the Tricare Prime health care benefit will improve for active-duty personnel and their families at duty stations in remote locations, officials said in a statement announcing the start of the services.

For starters, the new remote overseas contract eliminates up-front payment and the need for sponsors or families to file claims when seeking care.

And the new agency will coordinate and provide health care services and pay claims, and arrange urgent/emergency care, for members stationed in remote areas and active-duty personnel temporarily assigned/deployed to remote overseas locations.

Tricare Prime benefit subscribers now will have “equitable” access to health-care, officials said, to include a network of credentialed English-speaking providers, referrals for specialty care and access to SOS call centers worldwide where they might get medical advice from a licensed provider or nurse 24-hours a day, seven days a week.

“By using providers within the International SOS network, active-duty sponsors and family members in remote locations overseas have access to a network of ... health care providers and a benefit that is ‘cashless,’ ‘claimless’ and easy to use,” Air Force Lt. Col. Patricia Graulty, Tricare Overseas program manager, said in a statement.

The services became available Monday to participants in the Pacific region and some European areas. Participants in the remaining Europe sites will have access on Oct. 1. A listing of the sites and their availability is available on the Internet at: www.tricare.osd.mil/overseas.

Dental care is available only for active-duty personnel, but families living in a designated remote overseas location can use the SOS dental network providers but may be required to pay up-front claims filing fees.

However, sponsors may enroll their family members in the Tricare Dental Program, available through United Concordia Companies, Inc., which is a separate dental insurance program that shares dental cost with family members. Premiums are paid through payroll deductions by the sponsor.

Additional information for family members needing to enroll in the dental program is available by calling (800) 332-0366 or online at www.ucci.com/was/ucciweb/tdp/tdp.jsp.


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