Tricare Supplemental Insurance

I love Tricare – I think it is great insurance.  However, there are times when Tricare doesn’t cover all your costs, expecially if you are a retiree or using Tricare Standard.  As a result, several companies and organizations offer Tricare supplemental insurance policies.   A Tricare supplemental insurance policy covers some or all of the remaining costs after Tricare pays medical claims.   While the details differ amongst the various policies, they can be a great tool in your overall insurance plan.

Who Needs A Supplement?

Each situation is different, but generally a supplement can be financially beneficial to retirees whose only health insurance is Tricare.  Some active duty families who do not use Tricare Prime may also find a supplement worthwhile.  If you have other health insurance, such as employer-provided insurance, in addition to your Tricare coverage, you probably don’t need a Tricare supplement.

Where Do I Buy A Tricare Supplement?

If you do an internet search on “Tricare supplement,” many choices will come up.  Most are offered by military organizations who contract an insurance company to provide coverage.  The Federal Publishing group offers a good chart that shows the various offering groups and their costs.

How Do I Know Which Company To Use?

Be sure to get a copy of the potential policy from several groups to see which coverage will best fit your family’s needs.  Check things pre-existing condition coverage, deductibles, and maximum benefit limits.  The Tricare website has an excellent list of questions to ask about any supplemental insurance policy.  Be sure that the policy specifically states that this is a Tricare supplemental policy to ensure that Tricare will pay before the supplement.

Changes to Retiree Tricare Prime

On 1 October 2013, more than 17,000 military retirees and their family members will lose their Tricare Prime coverage and need to move to Tricare Standard .  As a result, their out-of-pocket medical costs will increase.  If you are one of the people affected by this change, you should seriously consider whether a Tricare supplement is a good choice for you.

If you regularly incur out-of-pocket medical costs with your current insurance plan(s), and you use Tricare for part or all of your insurance coverage, you may find that a Tricare supplemental insurance policy will help you decrease your costs.  Look into this coverage to see if it will work out well for you and your family.

About the Author

Kate Horrell
Kate Horrell is a military financial coach, mom of four teens, and Navy spouse. She has a background in taxes and mortgage banking, and a trove of experience helping other military families with their money. Follow her on twitter @realKateHorrell.
  • Kaathy B

    I have Tricare Standard as a Primary insurance. With no other insurance except I have a ASI supplemental insurance, Tricare denied coverage on my claim because I had “insurance”. The form apparently doesn’t ask if the insurance is a primary or supplemental insurance. How can I prevented Trcare from automatically reject my claim the next time this happens . I had 2 claims rejectioned this week because of the explanation I had other insurance!

    • Guest

      You do not have other insurance. (The supplement does not count). Resubmit the claim and check ” No other insurance.”

  • Brian Clark

    I was discharged over 42 years ago and I received a general discharge. How do I go back to get an honorable discharge now. Can anyone help me?

    • Gail

      Brian. I don’t know what state you’re in. BUT, if you’re in Ohio, go to you county Veterans Service Office to do paperwork to APPLY to get your discharge changed. No guarantees on getting it changed. Good luck.

      • Paul

        Each of the military services maintains a discharge review board with authority to change, corrects or modify a discharges or dismissals that are not issued by a sentence of a general courts-martial. The board has no authority to address medical discharges. The veteran or his surviving spouse, next of kin or legal representative, may apply for a review of discharge by writing to the military department concerned, using Department of Defense Form 293 and also DD 149. You can obtain this form from your local VA regional office, call 1-800-827-1000, from veterans service organizations ,or from the internet….

  • Ellen
  • Rwq

    17,000 how about a 171,000 were affected! I highly doubt that’s an accurate number it’s was DOD that supplied the higher number. The forty mile distance is another farce. Look up Mcdill AFB and then Sarasota fl definitely not forty miles. Our Tricare supplied list of providers that accept Tricare standard has a doctor who’s dead, four that no longer have a practice, six that don’t accept Tricare. Almost identical to the list I received 7 years ago.

  • EJD

    Are there ANY supplemental insurances for Tricare in the state of WA? I cannot find any.

    • George

      Try United Healthcare. They are now running the TRICARE program. My company based out of VA, but I am here in WA, has United Healthcare as their provider and they offer Tricare Supplemental insurance.

  • NavyVet

    A big “thanks” to John McCain for taking Prime coverage away from retirees such as myself. And he calls himself a fellow vet. smh

    • George

      Not sure what you are talking about. I’m a retiree and I still have Prime.

  • Army Vet

    I lost my Tricare Prime coverage and was reduced to Tricare Standard. I was informed by letter that it was just in my area, Wilmington, NC. I am currently looking into get supplemental insurance. Any suggestions?

    • Debra Scarbrough

      I’m in Tennessee and I’m also reduced to Tricare Standard…I went with ASI Supplemental…I suppose it looks the best for me…I will try it for a year and see what happens….I guess that is the best we can do for now.

  • D Nelson

    I live in the Hampton Roads VA area. I used TRICARE STD with ASI insurance for a number of years for about $60 a month for wife and myself. I was real happy with it as most major medical provider groups accept both insurances. Now at 65+ we pay $270 a month for our medicare and Tricare for life. TRICARE STD and ASI was a great deal.

    • KateKashman

      Thanks for the recommendation, Mr. Nelson. We need to help each other out as much as we can.

  • Navy Ret.

    We have two homes, one within Tricare Prime, which we are currently enrolled in with old address, but moved, mother in old home, and a new home where only Tricare standard is offered. Is it okay to use old home address and stay in Tricare Prime? Still using old doctors with Tricare Prime. Should we switch to new address, and add a Tricare supplement? How do billings, payments operate under standard and supplements?

  • GeneF

    What happened to Tricare not getting affected by all the Obomacare crap? As soon as Obomacare was passed Tricare went to crap. My wife has many illnesses and the doctor bills are putting me in the poor house. Was good on Prime but Standard Is killing us financially!!!

    • Vickie

      Same situation with me. Had Prime, which was wonderful, but was forced to Standard Tricare. After speaking with Tricare, was advised to apply for ASI supplemental policy to cover the cost -share. Inquiring today!!!

    • Jay

      Sorry, Obomacare had nothing to do with this. DoD/TMA had approved the change back in 2007 and held off until after the election. I’m telling what I know I worked at TMA and wasn’t aware of the change until I did a little research. I’m currently doing the research to compare Obomacare to TRICARE Standard. What I’m seeing so fare is Obomacare have better options. It allow for chiropractor service; eye exams as well as Preventive and Wellness Services. Where as TRICARE Standard don’t allow it.

  • Vets Wife

    That is what happened to us. It is funny that only the southeast region was dropped from Prime. I guess they don’t like how we vote. I am trying to find a good supplement too. I have narrowed it down to United Healthcare and ASI. Does anyone know if you pay up front and then are reimbursed or will they pay the doctor/hospital directly? I just had surgery and the bills are breaking us.

    • Facts are the Defense Authorization Bill passed by Congress in December pulled back at least some of DoD’s dropping those of use using Prime that live no more than 100 miles from a base (2014 Defense Authorization Bill, Under Title VII, Sec
      701). The House did more but the Senate gave in at least to some of DoD’s wish list. The only problem is those folks in DoD that “have our back” seem to have it only to stab a knife in it – “Thanks for your service now go away!” “#e have money to spend on bigger toys than some old retiree.” The wording of the amendment in the joint resolution forced DoD to allow a one time selection for those removed from Prime within a 100 area of a base to sign back up. It however gave the Sec of Defense the “option” to not expand or even contract the pool of doctors. The phone call I got from DoD after my Senator acted on my behalf to get answers made it clear, our friends in DoD are going to “follow the letter of the law” and while allowing me to at some point to sign back up for Prime or not travel 50 miles for a doctor appt. needed to keep Prime, it will offer no doctors for me to use in my area. It is so nice to know while the nation is calling for support of the veteran DoD is using it’s lawyers to kick us down the road even after Congress acted to make them do the right thing. (Months after the passage of the bill DoD is still “working on” how to implement it and while they sure had lots of ways to let us know we lost it they are very quiet on us getting anything back – go figure. I’m sure the insurance companies selling supplemental insurance love this and my guess is they not only lobbied for the change but will out to hire some of the DoD decision makers once they retire.

  • asi will send you a statement of what they have paid and what you owe.
    But they are pretty good..
    Good luck

  • Betty

    Can someone help ,I need a supplemental ins.I have tricare standard,but I’m not sure which supplmental would be the best.I’v heard about ASI and United Health Care,has anyone used these.My husband is 100% disabled from U.S.M.C. medically retired ,so he’s completley covered.I really havnt used tricare that much until recently ,getting older now and seeing a lot of Dr. bills,so I need help.

  • C. Brown

    I use ASI along with Tricare Standard I am a widow of a retired USAF officer. I pay $67 a month for the ASI. It covers everything Tricare doesn’t. The best part from me is the drug coverage since many of my medications are the non-formulary which cost $44 a month. Without ASI my out of pocket medication would be about $300. They cover it all. The pharmacy won’t file the supplement but it is very easy–I just send in my receipts with the form and a week later I get a check. The doctor and hospital file with ASI. It is a tremendous savings for me. I am just worried what is going to happen when I have to switch to Tricare for Life–I don’t know if I will be able to keep the ASI does anyone know?

  • Kathy O’Brien

    What supplement is good for both retiree and spouse together?

  • Shirley

    My husband is 100% disabled Vet and we have been using Tri-Care Standard for years. Now that we are turning 65 and do not have the
    quarters to be eligible for Medicare my supplement is dropping me
    his ASI is keeping him. Does anyone know of a supplement that will cover me?

  • Ron

    With Medicare A & B and taking TRICARE for Life do I need a supplemental

    • Kate

      Ron, I can’t tell you for sure. You will have to look at your medical situation and whether your current and anticipated future expenses will be covered by your current insurances. Medicare plus Tricare for Life are a pretty good combination and don’t leave a lot of needs for most people.

  • Ellen

    I’m confused. Is there, or isn’t there some kind of supplemental insurance for those of us who lost Prime and were forced into Tricare Standard/Extra?

    What is ASI everyone keeps mentioning?

    I’m also concerned about Kathy’s comment about saying she had supplemental insurance, and then Tricare denied her claim because she had “insurance”.

    That also makes it all sound unreliable.

    To the individual that thinks it was just the Southeast region that lost Prime… I’m Northwest and I lost it. I do believe it hit everyone, everywhere – – hard.

  • Evan

    I’m Prime and live less than 2 miles from a provider that I used with Prime for years. Tricare informed me that I can no longer use my trusted local PCM, My new PCM is roughly 40+ miles away. The most effective way to reduce Prime members is to limit the PCM network, forcing vets to Standard and subsequently a Standard Supplement. It’s only a matter of time before Prime disappears all together.

  • Rob Blanchard

    What about supplemental insurance for 100% service connected disabled vets that have retired with 20 years of service and were dropped from Tricare Prime to standard.

  • Glen Baldridge

    I am a retiree living in Germany, I am forced to take my retirement pay and purchase a primary insurance, that cost 650 dollars per month. I have a $$ deductible per year, and I have applied numerous times to Tri-car for refunds, and every time it is denied. This is another reason the US Government is contracting a company to provide a service to support the service member and it does not happen.

  • Guest

    Never chose Prime as it was much too expensive and not a fan of HMO’s. Stayed with Standard/Extra. Obtained a supplement through Military Benefit Association. Also, chose the plan that had a deductible override which means for a bit extra per month they pay the deductible (not sure if they still offer it). Have been with them since 2002 and no complaints. If Tricare covers it they seem to, although we have had no major medical issues. Our policy covers the veteran and spouse.