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TRICARE 2023 Year in Review: Digital Tools, Demonstration Projects, New Benefits, and More

Image of 2023 was a big year for TRICARE. New benefits, pharmacy changes, and updates on pilots and demonstrations were just a few of the health plan updates that help improve health care for the entire family. (Photo by Air National Guard Staff Sgt. Joseph Morgan). 2023 was a big year for TRICARE. New benefits, pharmacy changes, and updates on pilots and demonstrations were just a few of the health plan updates that help improve health care for the entire family. (Photo by Air National Guard Staff Sgt. Joseph Morgan)

2023 was a big year for TRICARE. Digital tools, demonstrations, and a strong TRICARE Open Season were just a few of the major stories.

The Defense Health Agency delivers TRICARE, the military’s health benefit. It provides coverage to approximately 9.6 million uniformed service members, retirees, and their families.

There’s an App for That

The DHA has a strategic focus on a digital-first approach to health care access and information. And 2023 saw TRICARE offering new digital tools and apps.

In April, the TRICARE Overseas Program Office announced the launch of the MyCare Overseas app. International SOS, the TOP contractor, manages the app. MyCare Overseas makes it easy for you to manage your health care at home and on the go.

“MyCare Overseas lets you get help with health care services and manage your TRICARE benefit, all in one place,” said Michael Griffin, program analyst with the TRICARE Overseas Program Office at the Defense Health Agency. “It’s a handy tool for finding providers, getting real-time language help, tracking your referrals, and much more.”

TRICARE also has a pharmacy app to help fill prescriptions without talking to a doctor. The Express Scripts Pharmacy mobile app lets you securely manage your prescriptions. You can also order and track prescriptions from your phone.

“The mobile app is a great tool for learning about your medication and managing your TRICARE prescription benefits,” said Marcy Opstal, a senior program analyst with the DHA’s Pharmacy Operations Division. “And if you use TRICARE Pharmacy Home Delivery, the app makes it easy to order and track your prescriptions.”

Are you enrolled in the TRICARE Dental Program (TDP)? If so, TDP also has MyAccount. It’s an online tool for you to manage your dental benefits. Visit the TDP website to learn how to get started today.

But you don’t need an app to access immediate health care advice. The Military Health System Nurse Advice Line provides health advice from a registered nurse. This is available 24-hours a day, seven days a week. You can use the MHS Nurse Advice Line any time you have questions about an illness or injury.

No Copayments for Certain Contraceptive Care

In 2023, TRICARE eliminated copayments and cost-shares for TRICARE Prime and TRICARE Select beneficiaries who choose a permanent birth control method, such as tubal ligation.

TRICARE covers a full range of contraceptive methods, regardless of which health plan beneficiaries have. And these changes help make sure you’ll have easy, convenient, and timely access to contraceptive services.

“The waiving of cost-shares and copayments for certain contraceptive services is one way we’re making it easier for you to get the care you need. Remember to ask your primary care provider if you have questions,” according to Regina Julian, deputy assistant director for DHA’s Health Care Operations.

Under these changes, eligible beneficiaries no longer pay cost-shares or copayments for all TRICARE-covered reversible medical contraceptives. These include IUDs, hormonal shots, and slow-release hormonal rods, which go under the skin.

For details, check out TRICARE Offers Contraceptive Care to Support You, Your Family, and Your Readiness.

Pilots and Demonstrations

TRICARE offers pilots and demonstrations to achieve the goals of enhancing patient care and reducing costs. TRICARE pilots and demonstrations offer innovative health care services, treatments, and approaches.

“The use of these pilots and demonstrations allows TRICARE to develop and test innovative approaches and services with the broader TRICARE beneficiary population, as well as specific services to targeted groups,” said U.S. Air Force Lt. Col. Donald “Del” Lofton, chief, TRICARE Optimization. “The goal is always to provide the most effective, high-quality, value-based health care while seeking to improve the overall health care experience for both beneficiaries and those who provide them care.”

In the summer, TRICARE extended demonstrations for laboratory developed tests until July 18, 2028. Laboratory developed tests assess risk or help guide treatment of certain medical conditions or rare diseases. The laboratory developed tests demonstration project allows TRICARE to review tests that haven’t been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. It also gives members access to tests not usually covered by TRICARE.

Under the five-year TRICARE Childbirth and Breastfeeding Support Demonstration, TRICARE began covering three new types of TRICARE-authorized providers:

  • Certified labor doulas
  • Certified lactation consultants
  • Certified lactation counselors

Read the review of ongoing pilots and demonstrations.

Health Plan and Pharmacy Costs

Updated health care costs made big news in November, in conjunction with the annual TRICARE Open Season. TRICARE announced new health plan costs and pharmacy costs to begin Jan. 1, 2024.

“TRICARE costs may change every year based on the law and the federal cost of living adjustment,” said Zelly Zim, a senior analyst with TRICARE Policy and Programs at the DHA. “Other factors, which include changes in the costs of health care services and prescription drugs, can also affect TRICARE costs.”

For pharmacy, “these new costs are part of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2018,” said Melanie Richardson, a pharmacist in the Pharmacy Operations Division at the DHA. “Most beneficiaries will pay $1 to $8 more per copayment. These new costs help continue to maintain high-quality delivery of your TRICARE health benefit.”

Do you know the difference between copayments and cost-shares? You can learn more about cost terms by reading Copayments, Cost-Shares, and Other TRICARE Costs You Should Know or by going to TRICARE Copayments and Cost-Shares.

Coverage Added for New Insulin Delivery Device, Automatic Blood Pressure Monitors

On Feb. 15, TRICARE began covering the Omnipod 5 insulin delivery device under your pharmacy benefit. You must have pre-authorization from your doctor. To find the cost, coverage rules, and availability of this device, check the TRICARE Formulary Search Tool. You can find information on your other prescriptions and devices through the TRICARE Formulary Search Tool as well. You may find some products available at military pharmacies, through home delivery, or at TRICARE retail network pharmacies.

Keep in mind, if you use the US Family Health Plan, you must use a USFHP pharmacy provider. When you have USFHP, you can’t use the TRICARE Pharmacy Program.

In June, TRICARE started covering automatic blood pressure monitors when prescribed under certain circumstances.

New TRICARE Dental Program Contract Announced

In October, DHA announced that the new dental contract was awarded to United Concordia Companies. For current coverage, TRICARE offers a variety of information for beneficiaries to learn about the variety of dental coverage that TRICARE offers.

Prevention is Key

TRICARE publishes articles, memos, and other materials regarding preventive health services throughout the year. This is to remind you that taking care of yourself is vital to staying healthy. And that an emergency isn’t the only time to access health care.

A sampling of other TRICARE news in 2023 include:

Want to better understand your TRICARE benefit? Visit You can also read informative articles, news, and tips in the TRICARE Newsroom.

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Jan 21, 2015

Federal Regulation: #MEDCOM Regulation 40-49, Medical Services Surgical Counts

This regulation provides guidelines for accountability of items used during operative and other invasive procedures (inclusive of minimally invasive procedures) to ensure they are not retained in a patient. This regulation addresses which items will, at a minimum, be counted, as well as when, how, and by whom the surgical count will be performed.

  • Identification #: MEDCOM Regulation 40-49
  • Type: Federal Regulation
Oct 23, 2014

Memorandum: #Army OTSG/MEDCOM Policy Memo 14-085, Prevention of Catheter Associated Urinary Tract Infections

This policy memo provides standardized definitions, standardized guidelines for insertion and maintenance of urinary catheters, and standardized processes for data collection and reporting of CAUTIs.

  • Identification #: Army OTSG/MEDCOM Policy Memo 14-085
  • Type: Memorandum
Oct 17, 2014

Memorandum: #Army OTSG/MEDCOM Policy Memo 14-083, Prevention of Ventilator-Associated Pneumonia

This policy memorandum directs Commanders to incorporate health care delivered to patients placed on ventilators at the patient's bedside whose measures that have been shown to prevent or reduce VAP as described in the current scientific literature.

  • Identification #: Army OTSG/MEDCOM Policy Memo 14-083
  • Type: Memorandum
Jun 16, 2014

Federal Regulation: #Army MEDCOM Regulation 40-57, Trial of Labor for Patients Attempting Vaginal Birth After Previous Cesarean Delivery

This regulation provides standardized guidance to promote maximum effectiveness and safety to the maternal-fetal unit during trial of labor (TOL) for vaginal birth after cesarean (VBAC) section delivery and to provide an optimal environment and psychosocial support to the patient.

  • Identification #: Army MEDCOM Regulation 40-57
  • Type: Federal Regulation
Mar 10, 2014

Federal Regulation: #Army MEDCOM Regulation 40-59, Standardization of Inpatient Falls Risk Assessment and Documentation Falls Prevention Program

This regulation directs standardized implementation of endorsed evidence-based falls risk assessment tools: the Johns Hopkins Hospital Fall Risk Assessment© (adult) and the Miami Children’s Hospital’s Humpty Dumpty Scale© (pediatric). In addition, this regulation requires incorporation of falls assessment documentation into the inpatient (Essentris) ...

  • Identification #: Army MEDCOM Regulation 40-59
  • Type: Federal Regulation
Jan 31, 2014

Federal Regulation: #Army MEDCOM Regulation 40-48, Fires Associated with the Performance of Surgical Procedures

The purpose of this regulation is to provide policy and recommendations that will help ensure minimal risk of fires associated with the performance of surgical procedures in any healthcare setting to include, but not limited to, the following: operating room (OR), office-based, ambulatory surgery, and intensive care unit type.

  • Identification #: Army MEDCOM Regulation 40-48
  • Type: Federal Regulation
Apr 11, 2013

Memorandum: #602520p, Medical Management (MM) Programs in the Direct Care System (DCS) and Remote Areas 602520p

.PDF | 189.63 KB

Establishes policy, assigns responsibilities, and prescribes uniform guidelines, procedures, and standards for the implementation of clinical case management (CM) in the Military Health System (MHS), for TRICARE beneficiaries including care of the wounded, ill, and injured (WII). Defines terms for MM, implements polices, assigns responsibilities, and ...

  • Identification #: 602520p
  • Type: Memorandum
Mar 18, 2013

Memorandum: #13-001, Expansion of the Chiropractic Program

.PDF | 504.37 KB

Chiropractic services may now be added at military treatment facilities that do not offer the service, subject to Military Department approval procedures and available funding. This change recognizes several requests from MTFs to add chiropractic services and the incorporation of chiropractic care in various pain management programs. Each Military ...

  • Identification #: 13-001
  • Type: Memorandum
Sep 24, 2012

Memorandum: #12-009, Guidelines for Suspension and Reinstatement of TRICARE Reserve Select Coverage

.PDF | 1.18 MB

This memorandum clarifies the procedures under title 32 of the Code of Federal Regulations, section 199.24(d)(3) for suspending TRICARE Reserve Select (TRS) coverage for up to 12 months and, upon request from a TRS member/survivor request, lifting the suspension, which will reinstate coverage with no break.

  • Identification #: 12-009
  • Type: Memorandum
May 22, 2012

Memorandum: #12-005, Reporting Infection Prevention and Control Data to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention using the National Healthcare Safety Network 12-005

.PDF | 121.58 KB

The purpose of this memorandum is to update Health Affairs Policy 08-020, which implemented the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) National Healthcare Safety Network (NHSN) within the Military Health System (MHS).

  • Identification #: 12-005
  • Type: Memorandum
Sep 26, 2011

Instruction: #DODI Number 6000.14, DOD Patient Bill of Rights and Responsibilities in the Military Health System

This instruction reissues DoD Instruction (DoDI) 6000.14 (Reference (b)) to establish policy, assign responsibilities, and provide procedures for implementation of the Consumer Bill of Rights and Responsibilities (commonly referred to as the “Patient’s Bill of Rights”) (Reference (c)).

  • Identification #: DODI Number 6000.14
  • Type: Instruction
May 23, 2011

Instruction: #Navy BUMED Instruction 6010.28, Healthcare Resolutions Program

This instruction establishes Navy Medicine strategic policy for the promotion of organizational transparency and full disclosure following unanticipated or adverse outcomes of care; to assist the enterprise in "doing the right thing" when there are unanticipated outcomes of care, treatment and services; to train and coach providers in disclosure ...

  • Identification #: Navy BUMED Instruction 6010.28
  • Type: Instruction
Feb 23, 2011

Memorandum: #HA Policy: 11-005, TRICARE Policy for Access to Care

.PDF | 132.83 KB

This memorandum rescinds and replaces several previously-issued Assistant Secretary of Defense (Health Affairs) (ASD[HA]) policy memoranda regarding TRICARE policy for access to care. To the extent practicable, this policy applies to overseas locations and to the TRICARE Overseas Program contractor with consideration that overseas/foreign locations ...

  • Identification #: HA Policy: 11-005
  • Type: Memorandum
May 22, 2009

Federal Regulation: #Army Regulation 40-68, Clinical Quality Management

This consolidated regulation prescribes policies, procedures and responsibilities for the administration of the Clinical Quality Management Program. It includes DoD and statutory policies addressing medical services quality management requirements. In addition, it implements DoD 6025.13 – R, DoDD 6000.14 and other DoD guidance.

  • Identification #: Army Regulation 40-68
  • Type: Federal Regulation
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Last Updated: January 10, 2024
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