The COVID-19 pandemic changed the face of medicine. While initially, non-emergency medical offices closed. Eventually, a shift to telehealth visits occurred. Medicare has announced that it will cover telehealth visits through 2023 with a plan for discussion on coverage before that time. TRICARE, also a federal health insurance, will continue to cover telemedicine visits. This includes overseas personnel!
Moving overseas is a big disruption in personal life but also in medical care. It shifts many members from service out in town to services in a military hospital or clinic, which can be a big change for many. Telemedicine visits provide flexibility for some to continue their current treatment, and perhaps even with the same medical group they were seeing in the past, depending on a few key factors.
Telemedicine coverage by country will depend on the country where the military personnel is stationed. TRICARE will cover telemedicine visits as long as the country allows telemedicine care; a TRICARE-authorized provider provides the care, and the provider follows all health and telemedicine rules.
Finding a telemedicine provider while living overseas is not always easy. To find a TRICARE provider that can provide care to those members insured by TRICARE Prime Overseas and TRICARE Prime Remote Overseas, look on the resource provider search page here. Select the region an, country, and TRICARE location and click search. Make sure to select “Telemedicine” as the specialty provider.
In addition, make sure that the medical concern is a TRICARE-covered service by searching here.
TRICARE does cover some telehealth mental health services. As said above, this is limited to certain diagnoses and treatments with the recent proposed DEA changes. Any care will need to be with a TRICARE network provider. Active-duty members must have a referral from their primary care provider. Dependents and retirees do not need a referral from the primary care provider. Overseas questions about telehealth mental services care can be reviewed at www.tricare-overseas.com
Telehealth services provide flexibility for the patient to continue to care no matter where they are, all dependent on state and federal laws. It is a great service that many patients have utilized and preferred during the pandemic, and the federal government has said they will continue to adapt guidelines to continue to provide this capability. Have you used telemedicine visits in the last three years? Will you continue?
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