Guard, Reserve Tricare policy announced

  • Published
Defense Department officials announced March 12 policy changes to Tricare Prime and Tricare Prime Remote programs for members of the National Guard and Reserve and their families.

Starting March 10, family members of Guardsmen and reservists on federal active-duty orders for more than 30 days are eligible to enroll in Tricare Prime and use the access standards and cost shares associated with the program.

"Previously, sponsors had to be eligible in the Defense Enrollment Eligibility Reporting System and activated for 179 days or more before family members were eligible to enroll in Tricare Prime," said Dr. William Winkenwerder Jr., assistant secretary of defense for health affairs. "The Department of Defense recognizes the contributions and sacrifices made by these families each and every day. Our commitment is to continue making improvements to the Tricare benefit to enhance access and quality of care these families receive."

Guard and Reserve family members who reside with their sponsors in a Tricare Prime Remote location at the time of the sponsor's activation can now enroll in the Tricare Prime Remote for Active Duty Family Members program.

For family members to be eligible to enroll in this program, sponsors and their family members must reside at a location that is at least 50 miles or more, or approximately a one-hour drive from the nearest military treatment facility. Sponsors and family members also must be identified as eligible in DEERS.

"It's important that we take care of the families of our reserve component members," said Thomas F. Hall, assistant secretary of defense for reserve affairs. "We want to ensure that our mobilized National Guard and Reserve members aren't worried about who's caring for their families while they're gone and to return them to families whose health care needs have been met by the military health system."

Contract changes are under way at Tricare Management Activity to implement the new remote policy. Once the changes are accomplished, family members of the Guard and Reserve sponsors activated for more than 30 days may start using the benefit, which has no co-payments, deductibles or claim forms to file, and which offers providers who meet rigorous standards for providing quality health care.

Guard and Reserve family members who choose not to enroll in either the Tricare Prime or remote program may still use the Tricare Standard and Extra benefits, with applicable cost shares and deductibles.

Guard and Reserve sponsors need to verify that DEERS information for themselves and their family members is accurate and up-to-date. They can contact DEERS at the Defense Manpower Data Center support office toll free at (800) 538-9552. Sponsors and family members can also update their addresses in DEERS on the Tricare Web site at

Future updates regarding benefits for members of the Guard and Reserve and their family members will be posted on the Tricare Web site at