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Status update: life events can affect TRICARE.

There's one constant in military life: change.

But here's another constant: during these life changes, TRICARE can change, too. Sometimes status changes can affect your participation in the Extended Care Health Option (ECHO) program.

What's happening?

Status changes for you or your sponsor can include active duty, retirement, moving, marriage, divorce, birth or death. To help avoid issues with coverage, claims or authorization, make sure to keep your and your family's DEERS records up-to-date. The Defense Enrollment Eligibility Reporting System (DEERS, is the database of those who are eligible for military benefits, like TRICARE.

Where can you start? Contact your Service branch's Exceptional Family Member Program office and your TRICARE ECHO nurse. They can help you keep your records in order. If you are moving, they can help you with the benefits at your new location.

How do changes affect my family?

If you fit into one of these categories, you may be eligible for ECHO:

* Active duty family members including family members of National Guard and Reserve members activated for more than 30 days.

* Family members eligible for TRICARE coverage during the Transitional Assistance Management Program (following separation from active duty).

* Family members of deceased active duty sponsors during the transitional survivor period.

Some families may gain and lose eligibility through multiple status changes. Others may relocate across town or across the country. During these periods, your ECHO nurse (and regional TRICARE contractor) can help you manage important aspects of your benefit, including:

* Authorizations.

* Documentation and records.

* Claims, cost share and annual cap information.

What may happen if you don't coordinate changes with your regional TRICARE contractor or ECHO nurse? You may not have what you need to start services at your new location. If you don't have your medical records and documentation, it may take extra time to pass important information between your previous and new providers. It's important to you and to your ECHO nurse that you have the quickest access to continuous care.

No matter what is doing the changing, remember that TRICARE eligibility could change, too. Tell your ECHO nurse when your life changes. Your ECHO nurse will be able to help you:

* Find services at your new location.

* When transitioning into or out of the ECHO program.

TRICARE Resources




North Region


South Region


West Region

ECHO Information & Referral 1.866.212.0442

TRICARE Moving Made Easy

(for active duty families)

By Brian P. Smith, TriWest Healthcare Alliance

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No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
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Title Annotation:United States Military Section: ARMY
Author:Smith, Brian P.
Publication:The Exceptional Parent
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Aug 1, 2011
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