The Military Health System (MHS) is making changes to TRICARE, the entitlement program that provides health care to the uniformed military service members and their families in the US and abroad. Military families who have children with disabilities may encounter changes that affect their children’s providers and services. Here’s our updates:
TRICARE has recently expanded their services for Mental Health and Substance Abuse Disorders. These changes have been made to give beneficiaries more options for their care and affect the following:
TRICARE, the healthcare entitlement program for military families, presents several quick videos on “What is TRICARE?”, “TRICARE Options for National Guard and Reserve Members”, TRICARE Extended Health Care Option (ECHO) – important for certain families who have children with disabilities- and TRICARE’s Autism Demonstration Project.
Children who are incapable of self-support and who become incapacitated prior to the age of 21 (or between 21 and 23 if enrolled as a full-time student) can continue to receive military benefits and privileges. This chart assists Parent Centers and military families identify the documents and procedures to declare their child as a permanent dependent.
Military families have unique concerns around the supports and services needed by their child with special needs. On the one hand, they have guaranteed medical coverage through TRICARE, the military health care system and its range of special programs. On the other, there are distinct limits to coverage and programs which may leave military families without some essential supports and services. Medicaid can be an option for some military families which they may not have considered, and which Parent Center staff can help them explore.
The Extended Care Health Option (ECHO) is a program offered through TRICARE, the military health care system.
ECHO may help some military families who have a family member with special needs. ECHO focuses on integrated sets of services and supplies beyond those available through TRICARE programs. Services are intended to reduce the disabling effects of a beneficiary’s condition. ECHO is only available as a supplement to TRICARE programs. If services or supplies are available through a beneficiary’s TRICARE plan, they won’t be covered under ECHO.
TRICARE is a component of the Military Health Care System and is available worldwide. It’s open to eligible beneficiaries of the seven uniformed services and certain National Guard and reserve members.