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As with any type of health insurance, the quality of care received depends on the quality of the physicians and health care professionals who provide the services. Civilian Tricare providers are carefully selected for their advanced qualifications and experience and are expected to provide the highest level of patient care. Additionally, all VA hospitals and military treatment facilities are part of the Tricare network, adding an extra level of choice for active duty military members, retired military servicemen and women and their families. Across the U.S. and throughout the world, Tricare services are available to military personnel at little or no cost.
Authorized Tricare providers may offer services within the network or act as non-network providers of medical services. Network providers have signed an agreement with the regional contracting authority to provide health care for military members at a specified negotiated rate; by keeping costs low, in-network services can be provided to members for little or no required copayment. Non-network providers have not signed these agreements; as a result, the benefits provided to military service members and their families require higher copayments and greater out-of-pocket expenses. Some Tricare plans do not allow for visits to out-of-network providers; for instance, Tricare Prime and Tricare Prime Remote require that members remain in-network for their care. Tricare Standard, Tricare Extra, and Tricare Reserve Select plans allow members to use authorized providers from outside the network, but benefits are reduced for out-of-network services. Tricare plans require that all providers, in or out of the network, must be authorized by the regional authority in order for benefits to be paid.
Tricare providers within the network will file all claims on behalf of members; this represents an additional advantage to staying within the network for health care. Services provided include the full range of medical care, from standard preventive services and physical examinations to extended hospital stays and complex procedures. Network providers include specialists in every field of medicine, from oncology to pre-natal and pediatric care. The Tricare network offers comprehensive services to active duty and retired military members and their families throughout the United States and in many locations around the world.