TRICARE Mental Health and Substance Abuse Care

TRICARE Mental Health and Substance Abuse Care

TRICARE has announced it is implementing significant improvements to its mental health and substance use disorder (SUD) benefits to provide beneficiaries greater access to the full range of available mental health and SUD treatments. TRICARE provides comprehensive mental health benefits to active duty service members, retirees, and their families. Benefits include psychiatric outpatient, inpatient, partial hospitalization, and residential treatment services.

Army Maj. Gen. Jeffrey Clark, Director of Healthcare Operations at Defense Health Agency (DHA) said, “We are intently focused on ensuring the behavioral health of our service members and their families remains a top priority.  These sweeping changes reflect that commitment.”

Some of the major changes include: improved access to mental health and substance use disorder treatment for TRICARE beneficiaries, revised beneficiary cost-shares to align with cost-shares for medical and surgical care, and reduced administrative barriers to care by streamlining requirements for institutional providers to become TRICARE authorized.

Dr. Patricia Moseley, senior policy analyst for military child and family behavioral health at DHA in Falls Church, Va., said that being able to ensure TRICARE mental health benefits are offered on par with medical and surgical benefits was a driving force for the changes. “Being able to meet the principles of mental health parity in our benefit is very significant,” said Moseley.

Since October 3, 2016, non-active duty dependent beneficiaries, retirees, their family members and survivors will generally pay lower co-payments and cost-shares for mental health care, such as $12 for outpatient mental health and SUD visits rather than the current rate of $25 per visit. Co-pays and cost-shares for inpatient mental health services will be the same for inpatient medical/surgical care. The full list of mental health co-pay and cost-share changes are posted on: http://www.tricare.mil/About/News/Archives/09_29_16_MHSUD

Disclaimer: The opinions expressed within this article are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of FRA.

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