Travel Reimbursement for Specialty Care

Do You Meet the Following Requirements?

  • You aren't on active duty  
  • You have a referral from your primary care manager (PCM)
  • The specialty provider's office more than 100 miles from your PCMs office

If all three apply to you, you may qualify for the Prime Travel Benefit. 

What is the Prime Travel Benefit?

The Prime Travel Benefit reimburses your travel expensesClick to closeAmounts you pay when traveling to and from your appointment.  This includes costs for gas, meals, tolls, parking, lodging, local transportation, and tickets for public transportation. when:

  • Your PCM refers you for medically necessaryClick to closeTo be medically necessary means it is appropriate, reasonable, and adequate for your condition., non-emergency care*
  • The specialty care provider is more than 100 miles (one-way) from your PCM’s office
  • There is no other specialty care provider (military, network or non-network) within 100 miles

*We don’t authorize travel reimbursement for elective procedures or non-covered benefits.

Who May Qualify for the Prime Travel Benefit?

You may qualify if you have TRICARE Prime (or TRICARE Prime Remote) and are:

  • An active duty family member
  • A retired service member or family member
  • A Medal of Honor veteran or family member
  • Any other non-active duty beneficiary

Approved non-medical attendants may also qualify.

  • You must be a parent, spouse, other adult family member (age 21 years or older), or a legal guardian.
  • If the patient is age 18 or older, the referring or treating provider must verify in writing that they need a non-medical attendant.
  • No two travelers can get reimbursed for the same expense. This applies to shared expenses like lodging or car rental.
  • You must save all of your own itemized travel receipts.

Are you on Active Duty?

If you’re traveling as the patient:

  • Your unit arranges your travel
  • The Prime Travel Benefit won’t apply

If you’re traveling as the non-medical attendant:

  • Contact your Prime Travel Office before traveling
  • You may get reimbursed for TDY expenses if you get approval from your unit or organization
  • You must submit a memo from your unit or organization authorizing you to act as the non-medical attendant
  • If you don’t get the memo or approval from your organization for TDY status, you’ll get reimbursed for actual expenses 

How Does the Prime Travel Benefit Work?

Once you have a referral for specialty care that qualifies for the Prime Travel Benefit, follow these steps:

Step 1: Contact Your Prime Travel Office

  • If you have a military PCM, call the travel representative at your military hospital or clinic
  • If you have a civilian PCM, call your Prime Travel Office:
    •  1-844-204-9351 
  • If you are Coast Guard with either a military or civilian PCM, call your Prime Travel Office: 
    •  1-844-204-9351 

Step 2: Make Your Travel Arrangements and Go to Your Appointment

Book the least expensive travel possible.

  • Economy class for air or train travel, unless approved
  • Compact class for car rental, unless approved
  • Local government per diem rate for lodging

Note: You can choose any mode of transportation you want, but you’ll only be reimbursed up to the most cost effective amount to the government. Please call your Prime Travel Office before purchasing airfare or traveling more than 400 miles one-way. If you don't, you may incur unnecessary out-of-pocket expenses that can’t be reimbursed.

You can get reimbursed for the actual costs of lodging and meals up to the government per diem rate for the area where you’re traveling:

  • Lodging includes taxes
  • Meals include taxes and tips, but excludes alcoholic beverages
  • Fuel expenses  

TRICARE will apply a mileage rate for driving to and from the appointment. Reimbursement is calculated using the “other” mileage rate in the Joint Federal Travel Regulation. Look this up each time you travel as this mileage rate may change.

Step 3: Submit Your Travel Documents

For travel forms and instructions, visit the Prime Travel Reimbursment Instructions page

Last Updated 3/15/2016