COVID Testing Coverage

  • TRICARE covers COVID-19 tests ordered by a 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 or a provider at a military hospital or clinic. 
    • Don't show up at a hospital or clinic and ask to be tested without a medical order.
    • Your health care provider decides if you need a test based on your exposure risk, symptoms, and guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
  • The test must be performed at a TRICARE-authorized lab or facility.
  • There is no cost for the COVID-19 test and the visit during the national health emergency due to the pandemic.

At the time of posting, this information is current.

Coverage for Service Members

If you're Does TRICARE cover? Additional details

An active duty service member with or without COVID-19 symptoms or recent prolonged exposure.

This includes an activatedCalled or ordered to active duty service for more than 30 days in a row. National Guard/Reserve member called or ordered to active duty for more than 30 days.*


  • Get a test at a military hospital or clinic, when possible.
  • If you're a National Guard or Reserve member, you must show as TRICARE-eligible in the Defense Enrollment Eligibility Reporting System(DEERS) A database of information on uniformed services members (sponsors), U.S.-sponsored foreign military, DoD and uniformed services civilians, other personnel as directed by the DoD, and their family members. You need to register in DEERS to get TRICARE..
  • TRICARE processes claims for service members under the Supplemental Health Care Program (SHCP).
  • For coverage under SHCP, you must have a provider order.
  • You should report your results through your unit and medical channels.

A National Guard or Reserve member called or ordered to active duty for less than 30 days.

No. You aren't TRICARE-eligible.
You'll need to get guidance from your unit regarding testing and payment. 
An active duty service member or an active duty family member on Permanent Change of Station orders to an overseas location. No
  • Your service covers testing as a travel expense under the Joint Travel Regulation only if your new overseas assignment location requires testing to enter the country.
  • You’ll pay for the test when you get it. This follows the same process as any other travel expense.
  • You'll report the cost on your voucher for travel reimbursement.

TRICARE may cover tests for active duty service members if it's required for mission readiness or deployment.

Coverage for all other TRICARE Beneficiaries (not Service Members)*

If you're Does TRICARE cover? Additional details
A TRICARE beneficiary with COVID-19 symptoms. Yes Provider order required.
A TRICARE beneficiary with no COVID-19 symptoms, but had prolonged exposure.  Yes Provider order required.
A TRICARE beneficiary who's having surgery.  Yes Provider order required.
Overseas and having testing done.  Yes, based on applicable guidelines 
  • Provider order required.
  • The TRICARE Overseas Program contractor follows the established guidelines and standards of care for COVID-19 testing for the country, host nation, and/or regional health authority (e.g., World Health Organization), where you're treated.  
A TRICARE For Life beneficiary. See Medicare

Having a test done that's not primarily intended for diagnosis and/or treatment of COVID-19. This includes:

  • Public health surveillance
  • Research
  • General workplace health and safety
  • Return to school
  • Mass transportation (e.g. bus, train, vanpool)
  • Personal or leisure travel
  • Curiosity or personal interest
  • You should check with your employer, local or state public health authorities, or other party that's requiring the test for guidance and possible coverage or cost reimbursement.
  • You might consider buying travel insurance coverage for personal or leisure travel.

*This includes TRICARE Reserve Select, TRICARE Young Adult, and TRICARE Retired Reserve enrollees.


  • The Secretary of Health and Human Services issued an emergency declaration that justifies the authorization of emergency use of tests for SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. The FDA has to review and clear, or authorize, all SARS-CoV-2 tests for emergency use. This includes laboratory-developed tests. If a test isn’t authorized by the FDA, it can’t be used for diagnostic testing.
  • Tests may take samples from the human body. This includes swabs of mucus from inside the nose or back of the throat, or blood taken from a vein or finger stick. They detect diseases or other conditions. There are several types of SARS-CoV-2/COVID-19 related tests:
    • Diagnostic Tests. These tests detect parts of the SARS-CoV-2 virus. These include molecular tests and antigen tests.
    • Tests for Management of COVID-19 Patients. These tests detect biomarkers related to inflammation. Once patients are diagnosed with COVID-19, these additional tests can be used to make patient management decisions.
    • Serology/Antibody Tests. These tests detect antibodies (e.g., IgM, IgG) to the SARS-CoV-2 virus. Serology and antibody tests aren’t commonly used to diagnose a current infection. Receiving test results can vary. Depending on testing type and site, results can be available within minutes, 2-5 days, or longer. Because serological tests for COVID-19 meet the definition of in vitro diagnostic tests for the detection of SARS-CoV-2 or the diagnosis of COVID-19, serological tests are covered by TRICARE if they are determined to be medically necessaryTo be medically necessary means it is appropriate, reasonable, and adequate for your condition. and appropriate medical care and ordered by a TRICARE-authorized provider.
  • Receiving test results can vary. Depending on testing type and site, results can be available within minutes, 2-5 days, or longer.

You may be able to use an online scheduling tool to book your COVID-19 vaccine appointment at a DoD vaccination site.

>>Learn more.

There’s no cost for the COVID-19 vaccine itself. But there may be a cost based on your health plan for an office visit with a provider, or if you require follow-on care. >>Learn more

Last Updated 8/20/2021