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News > Commentary - Accessing Medical Care While You Are Traveling
Accessing Medical Care While You Are Traveling

Posted 12/18/2012   Updated 12/18/2012 Email story   Print story


Commentary by Nancy Martin
TRICARE Contract Liaison

12/18/2012 - SHAW AIR FORCE BASE, S.C. -- As the holiday season approaches, many of our beneficiaries will be traveling to various locations to enjoy time with family and friends. In the event that you or your family members should need medical treatment while you are away from Shaw Air Force Base, you will find information in this article to help you determine how to get the appropriate care. First and foremost, it is important to take care of any routine healthcare visits before you depart as TRICARE does not pay for routine visits while traveling. In addition, obtaining "space available care" at a Military Treatment Facility (MTF) near your vacation location is not guaranteed.

If you should require emergency care it should only be sought when there is an immediate threat to life, limb, or sight. Should you have an emergency during your trip, call 911 or go to the nearest emergency room. If you are traveling overseas, the U.S. Embassy or Consulate can help you locate the nearest facility, but you should be prepared to pay for your treatment up-front--you will have to file a claim for reimbursement.

Should you require urgent care, or care that is needed within 24 hours when an illness or injury would result in further disability if not treated immediately, you must contact the TRICARE South Region at 800-444-5445 to obtain prior authorization or you may incur part of the cost for your treatment. As a Prime patient enrolled to the TRICARE South Region, you can speak to a Health Care Finder to obtain an authorization for urgent care in the area you are located. You do not have to contact your Primary Care Manager (PCM) as in previous times as this is a change to the TRICARE Urgent Care authorization process that started 1 April 2012.

For dental emergencies, active duty members should call the Active Duty Dental Program contractor at 866-984-2337 to determine treatment options. Active duty family members should contact the TRICARE Dental Program at 800-866-8466 and TRICARE Retiree Dental Program enrollees should contact at 888-838-8737 for dental assistance while traveling.

Finally, you should arrange for your prescriptions to be filled by your PCM prior to your departure. If provided a prescription from an Emergency Room or Urgent Care visit, patients can present to the closest MTF or to a TRICARE-participating pharmacy to obtain the prescribed medicines. Be sure your DEERS information is current, you have a valid uniformed service ID card and be prepared to pay minimal co-pay for retail prescriptions.
If you have any questions not covered in this article, please visit, visit the TRICARE Service Center in building 1051 on Shaw Air Force Base or contact TRICARE at 800-444-5445. Enjoy your holidays!

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