Got COVID-19 Questions? Read the Latest TRICARE FAQs
Update: There's new information available on how TRICARE covers COVID-19 tests. Visit Coronavirus Testing Coverage to learn more.
Do you have questions about how COVID-19 impacts your TRICARE benefit? You can find answers to your frequently asked questions (FAQs) and more on the TRICARE Coronavirus FAQs page. Since the start of the national emergency due to the pandemic, TRICARE’s been sharing weekly articles to help service members and their families navigate these trying times. With some places reopening (and closing), it’s important to make sure you stay informed on the latest developments near you.
Here’s some COVID-19 frequently asked questions and answers from recent TRICARE articles you may have missed:
Question: I don’t have a mask. Where can I get one?
Answer: Did you know that you can make a simple face cloth covering using common household items? It’s easy and cost effective—all you need is some cotton fabric, two strings, scissors, and a sewing machine. If you don’t have a sewing machine, use an old T-shirt or bandana and a pair of scissors. You can read step-by-step instructions from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) or watch the U.S. surgeon general’s tutorial on how to make cloth face coverings. If possible, you should wear a face covering whenever you’re out in public and can’t maintain 6 feet of social distance.
Keep in mind that cloth face coverings aren’t surgical or N95 respiratory masks. Those masks should be reserved for health care workers and medical first responders. Do you want to learn more about this topic? Read TRICARE’s COVID-19 and face masks article or visit the Face Masks FAQ topic.
Question: Should I get tested for COVID-19?
Answer: You should get a test if you’re experiencing COVID-19 symptoms. Be sure to contact your health care provider if you feel sick or recently had close contact with someone infected with COVID-19. Based on guidance from the CDC, your provider will use a screening process to determine whether you need to be tested. He or she will assess your symptoms and risk of exposure during the screening.
If you do need a test, your local military hospital or clinic may be able to provide you with one. In a June memo on COVID-19 testing, Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness Matthew P. Donovan explained that the Department of Defense (DoD) is closely following CDC guidance for safe testing. “Health care providers will use their clinical judgement to guide diagnostic testing for COVID-19,” wrote Donovan. “DoD components must ensure appropriate infection prevention and control procedures are followed throughout the entire testing process.”
The memo also indicated that military hospitals and clinics may provide tests for:
- Service members
- DoD civilian employees who aren’t DoD health care beneficiaries. Your supervisor must determine if you’re urgently required to be in your DoD workplace.
- Family members who are DoD/TRICARE eligible beneficiaries.
If you have a civilian provider, TRICARE will cover the costs of the test if your provider determines it’s medically appropriate and the requests meets the screening criteria.
Want to learn more? Check out TRICARE’s recent article on COVID-19 testing. By reading, you can find details about copayments, what’s covered under Medicare, and how you can check for coronavirus symptoms.
Question: What is quarantine? And why is 14 days recommended for COVID-19?
Answer: Quarantine is when a person or group of people—who have reason to believe they’ve been exposed—separate from others to prevent the spread of a disease. This helps you avoid transmitting a disease before you know you’re sick or feel any symptoms. The CDC recommends that you self-quarantine for 14 days if you’ve recently had close contact with someone known to be sick with COVID-19. The symptoms of this illness usually appear 2-14 days after exposure. Quarantine is different than isolation. Read the COVID-19 and quarantine article to learn more.
Did you know that the Defense Health Agency introduced changes to improve your virtual access to care during COVID-19? In case you missed the updates, check out this TRICARE article on telemedicine services.
For more FAQs, check out the TRICARE Coronavirus FAQs page and visit the CDC website. Be sure to check back for new information. As you continue to ask important questions, TRICARE is committed to getting you answers. Stay safe, and stay informed.
Last Updated 10/14/2021