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Five things to know about TRICARE while traveling

FALLS CHURCH, Va. -- It’s never fun when things go wrong on summer getaways or family vacations. If you or a family member on vacation picks up a nasty cold or steps on a jellyfish, remember that TRICARE travels with you. Before you pack up and head out, learn how to receive care when traveling.

The rules for receiving care while traveling depend on your plan and location. Visit Getting Care When Traveling for specific guidelines.

1. When you’re having a medical emergency in the U.S.: If you’re stateside, dial 911 or go to the nearest emergency room. But you also need to notify your primary care manager (PCM) or regional contractor within 24 hours or by the next business day.

2. When you’re having a medical emergency overseas: If you’re overseas, go to the nearest emergency care facility or call the medical assistance number for your location. But if you’re admitted into the hospital, you’ll also need to call your PCM or Regional Call Center before checking out. This step helps to coordinate authorization, continued care and payment.

3. When you don’t know if you should to see to a doctor: If you’re stateside and you aren’t sure whether you need care or what level of care you need, you can call the Nurse Advice Line (NAL) 24/7 to talk to a registered nurse. If you’re near a military hospital or clinic, the nurse can schedule a same or next-day appointment, if necessary and available.

4. When you need urgent care: For urgent care, you can go to an urgent care facility. The Urgent Care Pilot Program allows most TRICARE Prime beneficiaries to get two urgent care visits per fiscal year without a referral from your PCM. Learn more at https://tricare.mil/Plans/SpecialPrograms/UrgentCarePilot. Whether you are a TRICARE Prime or TRICARE Standard beneficiary you should always see a TRICARE-authorized provider. Keep in mind that choosing to see a non-network provider may mean you pay up front for care. Save your receipts and then file your own claim for reimbursement when you return home.

5. When you live overseas, but you’re traveling in the U.S.: If you live overseas but are traveling stateside, you don’t need a referral from your PCM to go to urgent care. You must get your care from a TRICARE-authorized provider. If you have questions, contact your Regional Call Center.

Remember, TRICARE travels with you wherever you go this summer.