Military members and their families covered under Tricare Prime, Tricare Prime Remote, or Tricare Young Adult–Prime will be allowed two urgent care visits without a referral per year, thanks to a pilot program starting May 23. Right now, beneficiaries need a referral before going to urgent care. Delays in getting appointments with a primary care provider have been a common complaint among military families for years, putting pressure on the Department of Defense to reconsider its antiquated referral policy. Some families say they have been forced to go to the emergency room for relatively simple complaints that needed prompt attention, increasing costs to the military’s healthcare system (and U.S. taxpayers). This program will run through May 2019. Beneficiaries will be allowed two referral-free urgent care visits from May 23 through September 30 this year; then the two-visit annual limit will reset.
Pilot Program Allows Tricare Members to Report Directly to Urgent Care