Military Life

TRICARE Just Added Important New Mental Health And Drug Benefits

Substance abuse and mental health issues are on the rise in the military community, and TRICARE — the insurance provider for service members and their families — is announcing it will offer expanded options to help members attack those problems.

According to its updated site, “TRICARE covers medically and psychologically necessary mental health and substance use disorder care. This includes both inpatient and outpatient care.”

Military insurance will now cover emergency and non-emergency hospitalization, pediatric psychological care, inpatient and residential care for substance-use disorders, as well as hospitalization or outpatient care for substance-use disorder treatment.

“If someone does well in inpatient psychiatric care and no longer requires 24-hour care, they could step down a level. Their options may be a partial hospital program, an intensive outpatient program at six hours a day, or outpatient treatment with a TRICARE-authorized provider,” Dr. Patricia Moseley, a senior policy analyst for military child and family behavioral health at the Defense Health Agency, said in a press release. “Now we have a continuum of care to meet our beneficiaries’ needs.”

Not only is TRICARE offering more treatment options, it’s also lowering the cost.

“Mental health and substance use disorder treatment is now cost equivalent to medical and surgical care, as it should be,” Moseley said.

For example, now outpatient mental health and substance use disorder appointments only cost $12 out of pocket — down from $25 in early 2016.

The insurance company has also taken steps to expand its network of health providers by easing certification requirements.

“Becoming TRICARE-authorized is now a more streamlined process for providers and facilities,” the release said, adding that the change would mean “more options for TRICARE beneficiaries.”