What is TRICARE?

TRICARE is the healthcare program for active-duty service members (ADSMs), veterans, and their families. TRICARE health insurance allows retired and active service members and their families access affordable healthcare.

Who is Eligible for TRICARE Health Insurance?

Those eligible for TRICARE health insurance are:

  • Active-duty service members and their families
  • National Guard/Reserve members and families
  • Retired service members and their families
  • Retired Reserve members and their families
  • Beneficiaries eligible for TRICARE and Medicare
  • Survivors
  • Children
  • Former spouses
  • Medal of Honor recipients and families
  • Dependent parents and parent-in-laws
  • Foreign Force members and families

You must be registered in the Defense Enrollment Eligibility Reporting System (DEERS) to check your eligibility and receive TRICARE benefits. Sponsors are automatically enrolled in DEERS but have to register eligible family members.

TRICARE Health Insurance Plans

TRICARE offers a variety of health plans determined by your eligibility, as well as who you and your sponsor are. The following HMO and PPO insurance plans offered are:

  • ​​TRICARE Plus
  • TRICARE Prime
  • TRICARE Prime Remote
  • TRICARE Prime Overseas
  • TRICARE Prime Remote Overseas
  • TRICARE Select
  • TRICARE Select Overseas
  • TRICARE For Life
  • TRICARE Reserve Select
  • TRICARE Retired Reserve

TRICARE Prime and TRICARE Select

All active-duty service members (ADSMs) must enroll in one of the four TRICARE Prime plans, depending on their location. All others eligible for TRICARE benefits can register for TRICARE Select or TRICARE Prime. With TRICARE Prime, you have fewer out-of-pocket expenses than TRICARE Select, however, Prime offers fewer provider options compared to Select.


To be eligible for TRICARE For Life, you must be over the age of 65 and enrolled in Medicare Part A and B.

TRICARE Retired Reserve

Retired National Guard/Reserves and their family members under the age of 60 are eligible for enrollment in the TRICARE Retired Reserve (TRR) plan. Once you reach 60 years of age, your plan will expire, and you must choose a new one, such as TRICARE Prime or TRICARE Select.

What Does TRICARE Cover?

TRICARE health insurance covers considered proven and medically necessary services. Dental coverage with TRICARE is not a part of the plan but rather based on who you are. Vision coverage is based on your TRICARE plan, who you are, and your age. The TRICARE Pharmacy Program provides prescription coverage for most necessary prescriptions.

Mental Health and Addiction Treatment Services

TRICARE covers emergency care, emergency inpatient hospital visits, and inpatient hospital services. TRICARE’s addiction treatment services cover intensive outpatient programs, medication-assisted treatment, as well as mental health therapeutic services, and partial hospitalization for psychiatric disorders and substance use disorders (SUDs).

What Type of Health Insurance is TRICARE?

TRICARE is a United States Military Health System health insurance program for all active-duty service members (ADSMs), National Guard/Reserve, retired military, and family members. TRICARE health insurance has health maintenance organization (HMO) options and preferred provider organization (PPO) type plans. HMO-managed care plans include all TRICARE Prime plans and are assigned a primary care manager (PCM) for assistance. PPO-type plans are self-managed and include TRICARE Select, Select Overseas, Reserve Select, and Retired Reserve plans.