TRICARE users in Europe have options for host nation referrals

September 26, 2012

By Europe Regional Medical Command

HEIDELBERG, Germany -- TRICARE users now have two options for receiving authorizations and medical documentation if they need to be seen by a host nation health care provider.

International SOS, the TRICARE service provider for Europe, sends referral authorizations to the health facility and the designated host nation provider within three business days of request and before the patient’s appointment. Those who prefer to pick up their authorizations from their local TRICARE service center should wait at least three business days after the referral is made, said Michelle Jones, ERMC’s TRICARE contract liaison officer.

“Although beneficiaries are not required to hand-carry referral authorizations to their host nation provider, they are encouraged to do so,” Jones said. “They will still need to hand-carry their medical documentation.”

Service Centers should offer beneficiaries two options for receiving authorizations and medical documentation:

-- Beneficiaries may receive their authorization and medical documentation via e-mail from the service center

-- Beneficiaries may stop by the service center to pick up their authorization and medical documentation

Beneficiaries still have three choices for making appointments:

-- Beneficiaries may book their own appointments

-- Beneficiaries may call the TRICARE Overseas Program (TOP) Regional Call Center to request assistance in booking their appointments

-- Army health facility service centers may book appointments for beneficiaries.

Beneficiaries who have questions about the referral or e-mail process should contact their local health facility TRICARE service center.

TRICARE Access to Care standards require that appointments for TRICARE Prime beneficiaries be made according to these guidelines:

Acute care 24 hours

Routine care 7 days

Wellness 28 days

Specialty 28 days

There are special procedures of which beneficiaries need to be aware when traveling back to the United States for care.

“The TRICARE Overseas Program website explains the process of TOP-enrolled beneficiaries seeking care stateside,” said Jones. “As a reminder, emergent care never requires an authorization, but all urgent care requires an authorization. If you are stateside and require urgent care please contact International SOS or your local TRICARE Service Center for assistance.”

Stateside routine care authorizations are rare and only authorized with prior justification from the patient’s Primary Care Manager and with health care coordination, Jones added.

The TOP website also offers information for all TRICARE beneficiaries, such as contact numbers for claims and customer service. The TRICARE Overseas beneficiary handbook and other literature may also be downloaded from the site, Jones said.

At host nation provider appointments, TRICARE Overseas Prime beneficiaries should present their TRICARE Prime Overseas Program enrollment card. Enrollment card examples can be viewed online. In addition to referral authorizations that will be sent directly to the host nation provider by International SOS, the enrollment card validates that the bearer is the TRICARE Prime beneficiary for whom the referral authorization was written. Each family member enrolled in TRICARE Overseas Prime should have a card. Beneficiaries who did not receive a card or need a replacement card should contact the TRICARE Overseas Program Regional Call Center and press option 4.

Toll-free contact numbers are:

-- Germany, 0800-589-1599

-- Italy, 800-915-994

-- Belgium, 0800-811-18

“Army health facility TRICARE service centers will continue to provide host nation patient liaison services, health care finders, beneficiary counseling and assistance, and debt collection assistance,” Jones said.

She encouraged all beneficiaries to visit for plan and benefit information. Beneficiaries can access country-specific toll-free contact numbers, forms, links other TRICARE overseas programs and a “Find-A-Provider” search tool at the TOP website.

About us: U.S. Army Europe is uniquely positioned to advance American strategic interests across Eurasia and has unparalleled capability to prevent conflict, shape the environment and, if necessary, win decisively. The relationships we build during more than 1000 theater security cooperation events in more than 40 countries each year lead directly to support for multinational contingency operations around the world, strengthen regional partnerships, and enhance global security.