TRICARE Overseas Program covers service members, families around globe
By Staff Sgt. Nicholas Rau, 460th Space Wing Public Affairs
/ Published January 08, 2013
BUCKLEY AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. -- Editors Note: This is the first of a series that will spotlight the major operations of the TRICARE Management Activity.
At any time a service member can receive a tasking to an overseas location and be needed to leave at a moment's notice. This is the life of the military family, and it applies to many Team Buckley warriors. However, no matter where military members and their families go in the world, the TRICARE Overseas Program has them covered.
The TRICARE Management Activity, which operates out of Aurora, handles the TRICARE Health Care Program, which represents 9.7 million individuals worldwide, according to Jack Arendale, TMA director of the operations division.
The TRICARE Overseas Program assists military members and their families when they get tasked to an assignment outside the United States and the District of Columbia. International SOS, the major overseas contract, develops a network of providers for TRICARE Overseas Prime beneficiaries. Through this negotiated contract, service members and their command-sponsored family members are connected with doctors and medical facilities around the globe. The program covers more than 450,000 beneficiaries and has network connections in more than 200 countries.
"Potentially, anyone eligible for TRICARE could access care under the overseas program," said Debra Hatzel, overseas requirement specialist. "If you are at Buckley AFB and go on a (temporary duty assignment), if you get deployed or if you are on leave -- you are ours. Wherever you go overseas, you are covered."
This network provides beneficiaries with not only the care they need, but also ensures a smooth process to file medical claims by keeping everything in the region.
"They help you locate the care, coordinate the care, but we also process the claim. You wouldn't need to send it somewhere else," said Patsy Capra, senior overseas program analyst. "All claims for services received overseas are processed by International SOS regardless of where the claim was sent."
With cultural differences making health care in foreign countries a unique experience, the TRICARE overseas program reminds a beneficiary that just because the experience is different, does not make it of lower quality.
"The experience is going to be different, and the fact that it is health care in a foreign country does not mean that it is poor quality health care -- it means it's different," said Cindy DiLorenzo, chief of TRICARE Overseas Program. "Service members with family members with serious medical, behavioral or psychological issues need to be aware what care is available to them overseas."
DiLorenzo explained that in some areas of the world, certain English-speaking doctors and psychologists may be unavailable to the service member. In these cases, members should do research on the location of their assignment and be prepared for possible changes to better suit their families' needs.
To facilitate this, the overseas program established the Global TRICARE Service Center for beneficiaries to call anytime -- 24/7. This center allows service members to receive information about doctors in their local area, coordinate care to the nearest medical treatment facility or learn more about services at a specific location, according to Hatzel.
The overseas program is one of the most unique aspects of the TMA, stated Capra. The program coordinates aeromedical evacuations and ship-to-shore care for service members and their command-sponsored family members in need, all while maintaining the safety of the member and their family.
For more information on the TRICARE Overseas Program or the TMA, visit their official website.