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Travel Expenses for Specialty Medical Care May Be Reimbursable

By Sgt. 1st Class Kathleen T. Rhem, USA
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, June 27, 2002 – Travel expenses incurred while seeking specialty care are reimbursable in certain circumstances under new TRICARE rules.

Nonactive duty TRICARE Prime beneficiaries can be reimbursed for "reasonable travel expenses" when they are required to travel more than 100 miles from their primary care manager's office, according to information provided by TRICARE officials. This benefit is retroactive to Oct. 30, 2000.

The new rules also allow one nonmedical attendant to accompany the nonactive duty patient. This benefit is retroactive to Dec. 28, 2001.

Some specifics must be met for reimbursement:

o The primary care provider must refer the patient for the specialty care.

o The travel distance for specialty care must be at least 100 miles from the primary care manager's office, regardless of the distance from the patient's home.

o To qualify for reimbursement for a nonmedical attendant's expenses, the patient's primary care manager must indicate the attendant is medically necessary. The attendant also must be a parent, guardian, or other family member aged 21 or older, TRICARE officials said.

Actual expenses for lodging and meals will be reimbursed up to the government per diem rate for the location of the specialty care. Receipts are required for amounts more than $75. Government per diem rates can be found on the Internet at http://www.dtic.mil/perdiem/pdrates.html.

TRICARE officials advise travel reimbursement is handled by each service, so the program may vary slightly among services. They recommend patients with questions or seeking reimbursement contact their local TRICARE beneficiary counseling and assistance coordinator. To locate the nearest coordinator, visit http://www.tricare.osd.mil/beneficiary/beneficiary/BCACDire ctory.htm.

For more information on the TRICARE Prime travel entitlement, visit http://www.tricare.osd.mil/nma/default.cfm.

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