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LAST UPDATED: November 21st, 2023

TRICARE stands out as a health insurance company because it provides military service members and their families with great health insurance options to meet the specific needs of the military. 

TRICARE has additional benefit programs that provide assistance when transitioning from TRICARE insurance to civilian health insurance. Some of these programs help with travel expenses for medical care, autism care costs, and cancer clinical trial expenses. 

TRICARE also provides Medicare insurance to eligible individuals that offers coverage throughout the world.

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The Good

  • Positive Reviews
  • Plan Options Designed for Military Needs
  • Special Additional Programs

Positive Reviews

Although TRICARE does not have many reviews on, most of its reviews are positive.

Reviewers appreciate how well TRICARE integrates with Medicare, the coverage offered, and affordable pricing.

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Customer Review: Lacey Horne from Salt Lake City, Utah

"One of the main reasons my husband got back into the military. Amazing coverage, great customer service and helpful website! Many doctors to choose from, quick bill processing!"

Plan Options Designed for Military Needs

TRICARE offers 11 kinds of health insurance plans to meet the needs of military service members and their families:

  • TRICARE Prime
  • TRICARE Prime Remote
  • TRICARE Prime Overseas
  • TRICARE Prime Remote Overseas
  • TRICARE Select
  • TRICARE Select Overseas
  • TRICARE for Life
  • TRICARE Reserve Select
  • TRICARE Retired Reserve
  • TRICARE Young Adult
  • U.S. Family Health Plan

With all four of the TRICARE Prime plans, members work with a Primary Care Manager (PCM) who coordinates their care. A Primary Care Manager has a similar function to a Primary Care Physician, which is a term used more commonly on other health insurance plans.

The cost specifics vary plan to plan. Most of the TRICARE Prime plans do not have premiums, annual enrollment fees, copays, or out-of-pocket costs for active duty or command sponsored military members as long as the care is from the member’s PCM or from a specialist referred by the PCM. Some of these same features apply to their family members depending on the eligibility rules of the specific plan.

With the two TRICARE Select plans there is an annual deductible and cost sharing for medical care received.

The TRICARE Select Overseas plan does not require referrals to specialists from a PCM. However, prior authorization is required for some kinds of medical care.

The TRICARE Reserve Select plan is designed for members of the Selected Reserves. It has premiums and an annual deductible. It is connected to a network of doctors. Using this network gives plan members access to larger discounts and coverage than visiting out-of-network doctors.

The TRICARE Retired Reserve Plan is similar to the TRICARE Reserve Select plan, but is intended for retired Reserve members under age 60 and their families.

TRICARE also offers Medicare parts A and B to TRICARE-eligible beneficiaries through its TRICARE For Life plan. Those enrolled pay monthly premiums and have medical coverage in the United States and abroad.

For unmarried children ages 21-26 of eligible sponsors, the TRICARE Young Adult plan offers medical insurance coverage if children are not eligible for any other kind of health insurance.

There are two options with the TRICARE Young Adult plan: Prime and Select. The Prime options works like the TRICARE Prime plans. The Select option works like the TRICARE Select plans.

The U.S. Family Health plan has no enrollment fees or out-of-pocket costs for care received from a U.S. Family Health Plan provider. This plan can be combined with Medicare coverage if individuals were enrolled in the U.S. Family Health plan before October 1, 2012.

Special Additional Programs

TRICARE offers the following additional programs to benefit its members:

  • Autism Care Demonstration: provides coverage for applied behavior analysis
  • Cancer Clinical Trials: provides coverage for eligibility screening tests and participation costs
  • Chiropractic Health Care Program: covers chiropractic care from some military hospitals and clinics
  • Combat-Related Special Compensation Travel Benefit: reimburses travel expenses for injury-related care for travel of more than 100 miles
  • Computer/Electronic Accommodations Program: provides technology assistance to qualifying Federal employees and managers to ensure that jobs are accessible to people with disabilities or injuries
  • Continued Health Care Benefit Program: provides health care coverage for 18-36 months after losing TRICARE eligibility
  • Extended Care Health Option: extends health care coverage for military family members who are transitioning out of TRICARE and are in the Exceptional Family Member Program (EFMP)
  • Provisional Coverage Program: provides coverage for emergency services and supplies with prior authorization
  • Transitional Assistance Management Program: provides 180 days of premium-free transitional health care benefits after TRICARE benefits end
  • TRICARE Plus: offers additional coverage for primary care services at military hospitals and clinics
  • Women, Infants, and Children Overseas Program: provides support to qualifying military families for living healthy lives. A WIC counselor determines eligibility and works with families on nutrition. The program also helps with health screenings.

The Bad

  • Minimal Customer Insight
  • Negative Reviews
  • Eligibility Rules
  • Exclusions

Minimal Customer Insight

TRICARE has not received many customer reviews on Best Company. Although no conclusions can be drawn regarding the general customer experience, it's promising that most TRICARE reviews are positive.

Negative Reviews

While most of TRICARE's reviews are positive, Best Company has also received some negative reviews. 

Complaints center on issues with pre-authorization and coverage denial. Understand what your TRICARE plan covers before you enroll so you know whether or not it will meet your needs.

Eligibility Rules

TRICARE only offers health insurance to individuals who are registered in the Defense Enrollment Eligibility Reporting System, including the following:

  • Uniformed Service members and their families
  • National Guard members and their families
  • National Reserve members and their families
  • Survivors
  • Former spouses
  • Medal of Honor recipients and their families

Because each of TRICARE’s health insurance plans are designed with specific groups in mind, each plan has its own eligibility requirements. Details about plan-specific requirements can be viewed easily from TRICARE’s website.


TRICARE health insurance also has some exclusions. These exclusions can be viewed on TRICARE’s website.


The Bottom Line

While TRICARE has some exclusions and specific eligibility requirements, its health insurance plans are excellent choices for those serving as part of the U.S. military and their families.

TRICARE’s plans are designed with specific military needs in mind, like being stationed overseas.

TRICARE also offers additional programs that help military families lead healthy lives, provide access to new cancer treatments, and transition from TRICARE health insurance.

Although more customer insight is necessary, TRICARE is worth considering if you meet its eligibility requirements.

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51 Reviews

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John Hughes Bloomfield, CT

The price of Tricare for my family of five is 5-star, but the hassle of constantly having to call them and then call my provider to get the prescription covered or my kids appointments covered is a never-ending battle. Bills are constantly being mailed with "not eligible for coverage", we each have three different numbers (SSN, dod id, and benefits number) and each provider seems to take a different number for each of us. Pharmacies never know how to work with Tricare because of their systems.

1 month ago

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Johnny Hasselquist Panama City, 8

TRICARE is a company that is contracted through the government to provide insurance coverage for American military service members, retirees, and eligible family members. Beneficiaries still pay have to pay insurance fees and will have to submit claims through the TRICARE website if the doctor is not doing it for them. TRICARE will try its best to force a beneficiary to use a military facility. While in Europe, I was forced regularly to use a military facility even if that meant to drive for hours to get there. All in an effort to avoid paying anything to the near civilian facility. Even if you are allowed to use a civilian facility, TRICARE will delay payment to the point, where civilian facilities required a down payment ahead of time. In Germany, if you wanted to go to a hospital, the hospital required a 1000 Euro security deposit, which they paid you back after TRICARE paid the bill. I was haunted by doctors, because TRICARE refused to pay for services. Currently I am enrolled in TRICARE Overseas as a retiree, and it deliberately will pay only part, none at all, or apply the fee to the catastrophic cap of the bill. The beneficiary will have to go after TRICARE to request an explanation for this since the EOB (Explanation of Benefits) usually does not contain that information. Recently TRICARE denied payment for some doctor visits and medication. Flat-out denied it. After calling them, they claimed that the reason this was denied because there was no address for the doctor. Keep in mind that TRICARE claim forms do not require that information. Even though the information was right there on each individual bill that was uploaded with the claim. They claimed they send me a letter about this, but did not state that on the EOB. One payment they refused, was for a biopsy of a breast mass, for my wife, who is at risk for breast cancer. This is documented. TRICARE denied payment because they wanted an explanation, even though, again, the explanation and findings were attached to the claim. Every time a denial happens TRICARE wants a written letter that needs to be sent by mail. If you follow up by phone, they claim that they have not received it. This allows for plausible deniability on their part, and as the beneficiary, you have no recourse but to send it again or just let it go. Now comes payment. We have bank information posted on our account. In almost 2 years we have not received a single payment. After emailing and calling them, they told us that they send out a check. We have never received a single check since we live overseas. We called them and explained the situation. They stated that they would cancel all checks and move the money into the posted bank account. This was 8 months ago, and we have yet to receive a single payment. However last week I messaged again about non-payment, and again they stated they mailed a check. TRICARE is an insurance company and as such, I do not believe they work in the best interest of beneficiaries. They will do their best to make the process as complicated as possible if there is an issue. Any complaints that are made usually get lost in the shuffle or get a token response. They are so far for my family never adequately addressed.

10 months ago

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Tricare Select for retirees is constantly raising costs to push people out and force them to sign up for Tricare Prime. They claim the basis of the increase is the annual cost of living adjustment for retired military pay. They have doubled the family policy fees.

1 year ago