Family members of military service personnel, like active duty service members, can also receive healthcare using the same system. The military health system offers other Prime subtypes of the plan including the overseas service option for military family members that live overseas and the "global remote overseas" option that enables service personnel managed care benefits when they work overseas and live in remote locations (TPA, 2007).
As with any healthcare system TRICARE offers other options to service members and beneficiaries. "Active" service members typically must enroll in the managed care option offered by TRICARE Prime, however there is another subset of the program called "TRICARE Standard and Extra" that is available to beneficiaries of service personnel, though active duty personnel are not able to participate in this service plan alternative, but do have to enroll in TRICARE Prime if they want the Standard and Extra service available to their beneficiaries. This subset allows beneficiaries more options than the Prime program; plan participants for example, may see anyone provider they like without being assigned a provider, as long s they visit a provider or health services that the TRICARE system considers "in-network" or approved to provide services under the provisions of the main policy. While there are options available that will enable individuals to see an out of network provider, the beneficiary will have to pay more in the way of out-of-pocket expenses to do so.
As evident through this review one can see the TRICARE health management system adopted by and developed for active duty military personnel and their families is a tool service members can use to receive quality healthcare. One of the advantages of this program is it enables service members to seek quality care from TRICARE approved case managers and providers even if they live overseas or are on active duty in remote locations (MHS, 2007). This is a benefit for many service members that do not have any other options with respect to receiving healthcare. The service goes as far as offering Medicare Part a and B. coverage when they qualify without having to pay a premium to enroll in these additional services using the TRICARE life program or TFL (MHS, 2007).
The Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Health Affairs or the OSD/HA implemented and governed this plan in an effort to ensure all military members and their beneficiaries or dependents have access to healthcare whether through managed care services as is the case with TRICARE Prime or through a point of service program that enables service members to allow their beneficiaries to select their own primary healthcare providers as long as they agree in this case to pay higher fees or out-of-pocket expenses (HMHSI, 2007).
By and large most military personnel consider the TRICARE service or plan options a benefit, as it allows service personnel to some degree to manage their healthcare and gain access to quality healthcare services using the TRICARE direct system for military health personnel, and the standard and extra or point of care service option for military beneficiaries or their dependents. The goals of the program included bringing together or providing uniformed services using networks of existing healthcare providers including Humana, to ensure all personnel and their families have access to healthcare services, without compromising the military's ability to support critical operations whether they take place in the U.S. Or abroad (HMHSI, 2007).
There are six major regions throughout the world presently providing care under the Prime or managed care option, using established health systems like Humana to oversee the care of personnel. TRICARE works with various contractors throughout the states and globe to provide specific and "integrated" care to participants, by operating within the guidelines of the military's "direct medical system" and a contractor offering support services including health, medical and dental care to plan participants and their dependents (HMHSI, 2007).
Active duty service members eligible include those in the Army, Marines, Navy, Coast Guard, Air Force and other commissioned corps as defined by the government (HMHSI, 2007).
Humana Military Healthcare Services, Inc., (2007), Humana Military Healthcare Services
Program. Department of Defense TRICARE Program. Retrieved November 4th, 2007: http://www.humana-military.com/South/provider/TRICAREResources/Handbook/ProvHndbkS1P2.htm
MHS. (2007). Military Health System, Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense