Retired Service members may be eligible to use either TRICARE or the Department of Veteran's Affairs benefits for health care services. Veterans choosing between the two programs should compare the co-payments and other financial responsibilities to make the right decision for each individual's situation.
TRICARE and VA benefits and coverage may differ depending on the treatment sought and the facility where the services will be performed. Although many VA facilities participate in the TRICARE network, it is recommended that VA coverage is used for service-connected conditions treated at a VA Medical Facility.
For a condition that is not service-connected, TRICARE benefits may cover treatment at a VA medical facility in the TRICARE network.
"A very high percentage of VA facilities are in the TRICARE network," explains Kenneth Cox, Director of the Department of Defense/VA Program Coordination Office under the Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense. "But like any other provider, if the VA facility is not in the TRICARE network, TRICARE coverage is not automatic. Patients should find out the VA facility's status in advance."
All TRICARE program rules must be followed to ensure claims are processed correctly. TRICARE coverage information on specific services can be found at the Department of Defense's TRICARE Web site, www.tricare.mil
To learn if a certain VA facility is part of the TRICARE network, visit TriWest's convenient online provider directory at www.triwest.com
, which is searchable by location, name, group name, facility or specialty. You may also call 1-888-TRIWEST (874-9378) for assistance.
TRICARE beneficiaries seeking care at a non-VA facility, such as a Military Treatment Facility or a civilian provider in the TRICARE network, may use TRICARE benefits regardless of a service-connected condition.
If you have additional questions about your TRICARE and VA benefits, contact TriWest at 1-888-TRIWEST or the VA at 1-877-222-VETS.