Continuing Health Care During Government Shutdown


In response to the ongoing government shutdown, the Defense Health Agency (DHA) authorized its TRICARE contractors to continue delivering health care to the 9.4 million beneficiaries of TRICARE.

At this time, TRICARE beneficiaries seeking medical care from private providers should feel no significant effects. Care at military hospitals and clinics remains largely unaffected. The TRICARE website includes current information about the impact of the shutdown on TRICARE health plans and military hospitals and clinics.

As a reminder, since Jan. 1, 2018, most TRICARE Prime enrollees no longer need a referral for urgent care visits and point of service charges no longer apply for urgent care claims. If you use TRICARE Select or any other TRICARE plan, you may visit any TRICARE-authorized providerAn authorized provider is any individual, institution/organization, or supplier that is licensed by a state, accredited by national organization, or meets other standards of the medical community, and is certified to provide benefits under TRICARE. There are two types of TRICARE-authorized providers: Network and Non-Network. DS, network or non-network, for urgent care.

The 24/7 Nurse Advice Line remains available and staffed by registered nurses who can answer your health questions or give advice if you’re unsure whether to seek urgent care. A nurse can also assist you with finding a provider and scheduling an appointment. You can reach the Nurse Advice Line by calling 1-800-TRICARE (874-2273)—Option 1.

If you have an emergency, call 911 or go to the emergency roomThe hospital department that provides emergency services to patients who need immediate medical attention..

TRICARE contractors delivering health care can expect to receive claims from providers. Those claims will be reimbursed by the DHA when the shutdown ends. If the shutdown continues for an extended period, DHA leadership will evaluate the best way to support TRICARE contractors and beneficiaries.

The Military Health System leadership, which includes Acting Assistant Secretary of Defense for Health Affairs Thomas McCaffery and U.S. Navy Vice Adm. Raquel C. Bono, director of the DHA, together with the surgeons general of the military departments, are closely monitoring the impact of the government shutdown on the health care services provided to patients and beneficiaries.

During the government shutdown, the DHA will not be able to process or pay TRICARE travel claims for the TRICARE Prime or Combat-Related Specialty Care travel benefits. You may still file your travel claim. The DHA will review claims for eligibility and process them once the government shutdown ends.

TRICARE For Life is currently unaffected by the government shutdown because it receives separate funding.

If you have questions about your benefits, please contact your regional, dental, pharmacy or program contractor. Visit the Contact Us page for a complete list of toll-free numbers.

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Last Updated 6/23/2020