My family is currently on a TRICARE health insurance plan. It is offered to us for free since my husband is active duty Army. It is available to any active duty military man or women for their family. All four of my children, husband and unborn child are covered under my husband's insurance through the Military. We are covered under the military insurance known as TRICARE Prime. We currently reside in Texas but our insurance goes with us where ever we go. TRICARE Prime is an HMO. There are times we do have to get referrals to see specialists or for special appointments. TRICARE Prime does not have any co-pays or premiums. I use it frequently when I go for my appointments as well as our children. We don't have an actual card since we attend the clinics on the military installation. There really are not tricks that you can use with this insurance company. They tend to be pretty strict about what you can or can't use it for. They will pay for pretty much any medical procedure, or appointment as long as it is pre-approved and medically necessary.
Our insurance is through the military since my husband is active duty Army. It is available to all active duty military. Our basic benefits covered are all medical, and vision. We are allowed one eye exam and one pair of glasses a year if needed. For more in depth eye exams we do need a referral but as long as it is medically necessary they will cover you to see an ongoing Ophthalmologist for such things like eye disease or conditions. Dental is not covered for family members through TRICARE Prime, however it is available for an additional fee. It is not very expensive and we get a list of doctors we get to choose from. There are times you might have to wait longer for an appointment or referral, but there are options.
TRICARE Standard is also available to all active duty military. With TRICARE Standard you usually have a co-pay of $20, a premium of 20% of the total cost, and a deductible of $1000 a year. You have a hospital deductible of $3000 a year. You don't have to get referrals to see a specialist from TRICARE but the specialist may require you to see another doctor before they take time to see you. The peace of having TRICARE Prime instead of TRICARE Standard for our family is that knowing no matter where we go there is a military installation that we can take our kids to get medical care without the worry or frustration of having to fill out lots of paperwork. They already have all of our information in the computer system and any x-rays, or tests needed at that time can be done and covered.
If you are active military and want to never ever worry about medical costs, go with Tricare Prime. If you want flexibility and selection go with TRICARE Standard. Some people buy supplements to go with their TRICARE. We have dental, but no other supplements. Some have Aflac but that too can get expensive. Not all insurance is bad, and my TRICARE Prime is perfect for me and my family!