TRICARE Overseas: A Globally Integrated Health Care Delivery Program

September 15, 2017 

Have you ever traveled outside the continental U.S. and wondered what you would do if you or your family members needed health care? We might not have thought about it during active service travels, but it's a topic worth revisiting. The good news is, eligible beneficiaries do have TRICARE coverage when they travel.

A few years ago, TRICARE consolidated its various overseas contract support services into one contract and awarded it to International SOS (ISOS), a global leader of health care and travel security assistance that consists of 11,000 employees operating in more than 1,000 locations in 90 countries. 

ISOS' global footprint gives patients access to technical knowledge, medical evaluation, direct engagement with providers, risk mitigation, and movement, which ensures the delivery of the right care at the right time. ISOS ensures consistent, standardized quality and access across three major overseas areas with varying laws, policies, cultures, languages, and payment systems. These key elements support other military readiness related activities, and set the organization apart from the other TRICARE managed care support contractors.

Kathy TMC Visit to TRICARE


Caption: MOAA's director of Government Relations for DoD health care, Capt. Kathy Beasley, USN (Ret), second from left, visits the ISOS global headquarters in Philadelphia with fellow The Military Coalition health care committee members.   

MOAA had the opportunity to visit an ISOS' headquarters center in Philadelphia that supports the TRICARE program. At the time of the visit, ISOS was conducting both on-the-ground health care support and aeromedical evacuations from Hurricane Irma-stricken islands in the Caribbean. MOAA experienced firsthand how TRICARE ensures beneficiaries receive the best possible health care no matter where they are in the world, even in potentially extreme and austere environments. Needless to say, it was enlightening.

The beneficiary options for the TRICARE Overseas Program consists of TRICARE Prime and TRICARE Prime Remote for active duty and their eligible family members. Family members may enroll in the Prime option or use TRICARE Overseas Standard. Others, including retired beneficiaries under and over age 65, may use the TRICARE Overseas Standard option. The Standard option works like the stateside Standard program with similar benefits, requirements, and costs, and will evolve from TRICARE Standard to “Select” Jan. 1, 2018. 

A couple of things for retired TRICARE beneficiaries to keep in mind: If you are over 65 and eligible for TRICARE for Life (TFL), you must be enrolled in Medicare Part B to obtain coverage in TRICARE Standard Overseas. Even though Medicare does not cover care overseas, your TFL benefit will. This eligibility should show up in DEERS, so keeping that up-to-date is always important.

Additionally, there are some nuances to filing claims with the TRICARE Overseas Program. For example, claims outside U.S. territories must be filed within three years. 

So as part of your travel preparations outside of the continental U.S., make it a priority to understand your benefits and take along the TRICARE Overseas Program geographical regional contact information. More information can be found at


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