By Michelle Cyr, Chief Wiesbaden TRICARE Service Center and Bonnie DeJesus, LRMC Host Nation Patient LiaisonNovember 29, 2018
As many of us begin making travel plans this holiday season, it is important to know what to do in case you, your family members or your visitors need medical care away from home.
ACTIVE DUTY SERVICE MEMBERS AND THEIR FAMILIES
Active duty military and their family members enrolled in TRICARE Prime will need to request authorization from International SOS when seeking care outside of a military treatment facility for urgent medical needs. Urgent medical concerns are those that cannot wait for your primary care provider, such as allergic reactions, cold or flu symptoms not managed with self-care, persistent diarrhea, sprains and strains and more.
In addition to providing the authorization for care, ISOS can also provide healthcare finder assistance. In some cases they may be able to coordinate cashless, claimless billing, which means no up-front out of pocket costs and the medical facility will file the claim for the patient. When possible, it is best to utilize a TRICARE network provider or facility. However, patients should be aware that many European medical facilities do not file claims, and to be safe, they should expect payment up front.
Emergency care, for the potential loss of life, limb, or eyesight, works a little differently. When seeking medical attention for any of these situations, patients should seek care first and call ISOS once they are stable, typically no later than 3 business days from the date of emergency.
After you have called ISOS, please make sure to write down the care authorization number in a safe place. This number will be associated with your TRICARE claim for reimbursement.
When paying out of pocket for care, make sure to keep copies of all medical records, discharge paperwork and receipts. Once home, please feel free to visit your nearest TRICARE office for assistance with submitting claims for reimbursement and documents for translation.
Routine care should wait until you return home and can see your primary care manager. Patients not enrolled in TRICARE, such as federal civilian employees, should check with their health insurance company for guidance.
FRIENDS AND FAMILY VISITING FROM THE UNITED STATES
Medicare and many private health insurance policies do not cover care outside the United States so patients may be required to pay some or all of their bill up front and file a claim to try and get reimbursed upon their return to the U.S.
Veterans enrolled in the VA Foreign Medical Program can receive covered health care overseas for service-connected disabilities, but they should be prepared to show proof of enrollment. Some hospitals in foreign countries may not recognize the program and may still require upfront payment.
Only military, military retirees and their family members who have a Dept. of Defense Identification Card are eligible for care at Landstuhl Regional Medical Center or any other military treatment facility. All others should seek medical care within the local community. Due to fluctuating availability of appointments and specialty services, there are times when even eligible beneficiaries may need to receive care in the local economy.
INTERNATIONAL SOS MEDICAL ASSISTANCE 24/7
Toll Free from Germany: 0800-589-1599
From the United States: 1-877-678-1207
NURSE ADVICE LINE
Toll free from Germany 0800-825-1600
Appointment Line 06371-9464-5762 (LRMC), Nurse Advice Line option
From the United States 1-800-TRICARE
For phone numbers from other countries, please visit https://rhce.amedd.army.mil/Families/nurse_advice_line.html