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thedrifter
02-13-09, 09:33 AM
TRICARE extends overseas coverage
Lance Cpl. Paul D. Zellner

CAMP LESTER, Okinawa (February 13, 2009) -- Active duty family members covered by TRICARE Prime will no longer have to pay out of pocket for emergency care while deployed, on temporary duty or leave with their spouse.

Using the International SOS program, a worldwide medical assistance program, TRICARE is able to eliminate the up-front costs of emergency care to service members and their families who are treated at civilian medical facilities overseas. In addition, TRICARE is also able to assist active-duty service members by recommending health care providers who are nearby.

Under the old program, family members treated at civilian hospitals overseas had to pay out of pocket for all medical expenses.

They could then request reimbursement from TRICARE.

Patients are not guaranteed assistance for routine care. TRICARE will guarantee payment for emergency treatment only, under ISOS.

The program has already been helping service members with urgent medical and dental care, but now family members can receive the same benefits without up-front costs.

According to a media release from TRICARE, medical emergency conditions are anything that threatens life, limb or eyesight.

Conditions that require emergency care include loss of consciousness, shortness of breath, chest pain, uncontrolled bleeding, sudden or unexpected weakness or paralysis, poisoning, suicide attempts, drug overdose, acute psychosis and major depression.

Pregnancy-related medical emergencies involve a sudden or unexpected medical complication that puts the mother or baby at risk.

Retirees, their families and other patients not covered by TRICARE Prime are not covered by the new benefit.

For more information on ISOS, contact your TRICARE Service Center at the U.S. Naval Hospital Okinawa at 643-7539 or the Kadena TRICARE Service Center at 630-4310.

Ellie