Skip main navigation

Military Health System

Clear Your Browser Cache

This website has recently undergone changes. Users finding unexpected concerns may care to clear their browser's cache to ensure a seamless experience.

Before Natural Disasters Strike, Know Your TRICARE Benefits

Image of Before Natural Disasters Strike, Know Your TRICARE Benefits. Florida National Guard Soldiers transport families through flooded roads during Hurricane Ian relief efforts in Arcadia, Fla., Oct. 3, 2022. Florida National Guard's Chemical, Biological, Radiological/Nuclear, and Explosive (CBRNE) - Enhanced Response Force Package (FL-CERFP) assisted first responders as they conducted day and night time operations in support of residents in affected regions. Maritime operations granted FLNG Soldiers the capabilities to extract individuals trapped in their homes due to compromised road conditions in order to provide medical aid and ensure safety. (U.S. Army courtesy photo by Spc. Samuel Herman)

FALLS CHURCH, Va. – Natural disasters are so frequent that it can be difficult to predict where the next hurricane, tornado, or flood may occur. That’s why you must always be prepared. In case of a natural disaster, one of the most important preparations is to ensure you and your family have your prescription drugs and access to health care services. Understanding how your TRICARE benefit works during emergencies is crucial.

“TRICARE has policies that allow beneficiaries to get needed prescriptions and health care during emergencies,” said Sapna Surana, chief of the TRICARE Click to closeprivate sector careNetwork and non-network TRICARE-authorized civilian health care professionals, pharmacies, and suppliers.Private Sector Care Integration Office. “When a natural disaster strikes, these policies may apply to your area.”

When the government issues a state of emergency, TRICARE may temporarily change its procedures to ensure that you receive timely medical care. Here’s what you need to know.

How to get emergency prescription refills

TRICARE may authorize early refills for prescriptions during emergencies or prior to natural disasters, as stated in the TRICARE Pharmacy Program Handbook. To get an emergency refill, take your prescription bottle to any TRICARE retail network pharmacy. You should try to visit the pharmacy where you originally filled the prescription. If you used a retail chain, you can fill your prescription at another store in that chain. You can also ask your provider to call in a new prescription to any retail network pharmacyCopayments will apply to your emergency prescription refill. If your prescription bottle is unavailable or the label is damaged or missing, you should contact the TRICARE pharmacy contractor, Express Scripts, or your retail network pharmacy.

How to get emergency referral waivers

What if you’re displaced during a disaster and can’t visit your primary care manager? TRICARE may authorize blanket referral waivers in certain areas during emergencies. If a waiver is in place, it means you can see any TRICARE-authorized provider without paying point-of-service costs. If you need to file a claim, be sure to keep your receipts and file the claim as soon as possible. This will help you avoid unnecessary out-of-pocket costs.

If you’re displaced and need to find a doctor, use TRICARE’s Find a Doctor tool to find one nearby.

How to keep up with your TRICARE coverage

If your area experiences a natural disaster, there are a few things you should remember to do to after a disaster to make sure your health care needs are met.

  • Check to see if you have your Uniformed Services ID card with you. If you lose your ID card, go to the nearest ID card office to get a new one.
  • Follow appropriate referral and authorization procedures.
  • Don’t forget to transfer your TRICARE enrollment if you move after an evacuation.
  • Continue to pay your plan’s enrollment fees or monthly premiums on time, if applicable.
  • File claims in a timely manner.

How to prepare for an emergency

What you do to prepare before a disaster is also important. Do you have an emergency plan? Take time to outline how you and your family would communicate, how you would evacuate, and where you would shelter. It’s also important to have your essential items in a place that’s safe and easy to find.

When a natural disaster strikes your area, check TRICARE Disaster Alerts to learn if TRICARE has issued emergency policies such as early prescription refills or referral waivers. Follow up with your TRICARE contractor if you have any questions.

Would you like the latest TRICARE news sent to you by email? Visit TRICARE Subscriptions, and create your personalized profile to get benefit updates, news, and more.

You also may be interested in...

Topic
Jul 31, 2023

Civil Military Medicine

Civil-Military Medicine ensures the Military Health System provides the highest possible level and quality of health service support to military missions and other responsibilities that are outside the realm of major combat operations with an emphasis on emerging mission sets of homeland defense & defense support of civil authorities.

Topic
Jul 25, 2023

Disaster Preparation

The Disaster Prep Toolkit offers graphics and content for MHS Social Media Managers to use to share on their platforms.

Article
Jul 25, 2023

Beat the Back-to-School Rush: TRICARE Preventive Health Checks for Kids

Beat the Back-to-School Rush: TRICARE Preventive Health Checks for Kids

Summer is a great time to take care of health checkups for your kids. Your child’s school likely requires students to get an annual health exam and be up to date on vaccines. With a new school year around the corner, don’t delay medical appointments for your kids.

Article Around MHS
Jul 24, 2023

Expeditionary Medical Facility Kilo Completes Readiness Exercise, Earns Deployment-Ready Status

Expeditionary Medical Facility Kilo successfully completed its Operational Readiness Evaluation in Camp Pendleton, California, June 14-21. Approximately 134 EMF Kilo personnel trained in setting up and operating a 50-bed, medical treatment facility. (Photo: U.S. Navy HM2 James Comick, Naval Expeditionary Medical Training Institute)

Expeditionary Medical Facility Kilo successfully completed its Operational Readiness Evaluation. The focus of the ORE held in Camp Pendleton, California was testing the command’s ability to stand up a fully functional field hospital, capable of operating when deployed at any location around the world.

Article
Jul 20, 2023

Learn How Qualifying Life Events Work at August 10 TRICARE Webinar

Learn How Qualifying Life Events Work at August 10 TRICARE Webinar

What do moving, getting married, having a baby, and retiring from active duty have in common? They’re all TRICARE Qualifying Life Events, also known as QLEs. QLEs can affect your TRICARE coverage. Join TRICARE Thursday, Aug. 10, from 1 to 2 p.m. ET for a webinar, “Moving, Marriage, and More: What TRICARE QLEs Mean for You.”

Article Around MHS
Jul 13, 2023

Entomologist Augments Warfighter Research Across Indo Pacific Region

U.S. Navy Lt. Thomas McGlynn, a medical entomologist at the Navy Entomology Center of Excellence, poses for a photo with Malaysian commissioned and noncommissioned officers, Malaysian public health officials, and researchers from the University of Malaysia Sabah during their training in Johor Bahru, Malaysia on Feb. 9. (Photo: U.S. Navy Lt. Nicholas Johnston)

Naval Medical Research Unit 2 was established during World War II in Guam to conduct applied research in support of force health protection and has operated intermittently since 1955. Currently, NAMRU-2 is located in Singapore and acts as the center of a hub-and-spoke research model in multiple southeastern Asian countries such as Vietnam, Thailand, ...

Skip subpage navigation
Refine your search
Last Updated: August 03, 2023
Follow us on Instagram Follow us on LinkedIn Follow us on Facebook Follow us on X Follow us on YouTube Sign up on GovDelivery