Mental Health is Health: How To Get Mental Health Care With TRICARE (2024)

Mental Health is Health: How To Get Mental Health Care With TRICARE (1)U.S. Air Force Tech. Sgt. Melissa Leonardo, a 379th Expeditionary Medical Group mental health technician, poses for a photo at the Mental Health Office waiting room at Al Udeid Air Base, Qatar. The Mental Health Office is a specialty clinic designed to treat significant depression, anxiety and trauma. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Master Sgt. Michael J. Kelly)

5/21/2024By:TRICARE Communications

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FALLS CHURCH, Va. – Editor’s note: If you or someone you know is struggling or in crisis, help is available. Call or text 988 or chat 988lifeline.org. This resource connects you with trained counselors who can help you get the help you need, 24/7.

Staying healthy is more than just taking care of your body. Even when you’re feeling good physically, you may notice you’re unusually sad, anxious, or exhausted. If so, you may be experiencing symptoms of a mental health concern—and you’re not alone. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 1 in 5 adults in the United States live with a mental illness.

TRICARE covers mental health services so you and your family can get the care you need. Using these covered services can help put you on a path to mental and physical wellness.

“Paying attention to your mental health is key to your overall well-being,” said Thomas Turnbaugh, LCSW-C, a behavioral health specialist at the Defense Health Agency. “If you notice that you’re feeling different than usual—or if you’re dealing with a major stressor—reach out to your provider right away to learn how you can get professional care.”

Here’s more information about TRICARE-covered mental health services and how you can access them

Getting emergency mental health care

If you or a loved one is at immediate risk of harm to yourself or others, this is a mental health emergency. Call 911 or go to the nearest emergency room. You don’t need a referral or pre-authorization. Just make sure to contact your TRICARE regional contractor within 24 hours (or the next business day) to coordinate care.

Getting non-emergency mental health care

Before seeking non-emergency care, talk with your primary care provider to determine which services are right for you. And check which services require a referral or pre-authorization.

Your options for getting non-emergency mental health care depend on your beneficiary category and health plan:

  • Active duty service members (ADSMs): You should first seek non-emergency care at a military hospital or clinic. If you get services from a civilian provider, you’ll need a referral or pre-authorization. ADSMs may also seek a mental health evaluation by making a request to their supervisor. You don’t need to explain why you’re requesting one, and your information will stay confidential.
  • All others with TRICARE Prime: You don’t need a referral to see a network provider for in-office outpatient mental health services. Active duty family members may get non-emergency care from TRICARE-authorized non-network providers without referrals. But point-of-service fees will apply.
  • TRICARE Select: You can see any TRICARE-authorized provider for mental health services. But your out-of-pocket costs will be lower if you see a network provider.
  • TRICARE For Life: You don’t need a referral or pre-authorization from TRICARE in most cases. This is because Medicare is the primary payer for mental health care. But if your Medicare benefits are exhausted, you’ll need a referral or pre-authorization from TRICARE before you get mental health care.

Still not sure if you need a referral or pre-authorization before getting care? Visit Referrals and Pre-Authorizations to learn more.

Covered mental health services

TRICARE covers certain outpatient and inpatient mental health services, as detailed in the TRICARE Mental Health and Substance Use Disorder Services Fact Sheet.

Outpatient services

Outpatient treatment is available at some military hospitals and clinics. You can also get care from TRICARE-authorized civilian providers. Appointments may be in person or via telemedicine.

Some types of covered outpatient treatment include:

Inpatient services

You may need more intensive treatment that requires you to stay in a hospital or treatment center. If so, TRICARE covers:

Looking for a full list of covered mental health services? You can find more information on covered treatments. Or you can search for specific services on the Covered Services page.

Note: Some mental health services may not be available overseas. Check with the TRICARE Overseas contractor for more information.

Mental health care costs

Use the Compare Costs tool to check your out-of-pocket costs for mental health services. You’ll have lower costs by getting care at military hospitals or clinics or from TRICARE-authorized network providers. ADSMs have no costs for mental health services from or authorized by the Military Health System.

Mental health is health—and it’s an important part of your overall wellness. Looking for a mental health provider? Check out the Find a Doctor tool. You can also find more resources and information on TRICARE’s Mental Health Care page.

Would you like the latest TRICARE news sent to you by email? Visit TRICARE Subscriptions, and create your personalized profile to get benefit updates, news, and more.

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Mental Health is Health: How To Get Mental Health Care With TRICARE (2024)

FAQs

Mental Health is Health: How To Get Mental Health Care With TRICARE? ›

TRICARE For Life: You don't need a referral or pre-authorization from TRICARE in most cases. This is because Medicare is the primary payer for mental health care. But if your Medicare benefits are exhausted, you'll need a referral or pre-authorization from TRICARE before you get mental health care.

Is mental health care covered by TRICARE? ›

TRICARE mental health and substance use disorder (SUD) services are available for you and your family during times of stress, depression, grief, anxiety, mental health crisis, and misuse or abuse of alcohol or drugs. This fact sheet provides an overview of mental health and SUD services that TRICARE covers.

Do I need a referral for TRICARE Prime mental health? ›

You don't need a referral for preventive services or outpatient mental health care visits as long as you get these services from a TRICARE network provider in your region. You may only get the care on your referral. If you get care that's not on your referral, you will pay point-of-service fees.

What are the four types of mental health services? ›

Psychiatric hospitalization. Inpatient or residential mental health treatment. Outpatient mental health treatment. Dual diagnosis treatment.

Is there free mental health care in the US? ›

Community Mental Health Centers offer low-cost or free care on a sliding scale to the public.

Does the military pay for mental health? ›

TRICARE covers treatment for medically and psychologically necessary mental health and substance use disorders. Keep in mind, your costs will vary depending on the level of service.

Does TRICARE provide counseling? ›

Based on your plan, you may need a referral or pre-authorization for any outpatient mental health (except psychoanalysis) and substance use disorder (SUD) care. This includes services like therapy and counseling. If you choose a provider outside the network, you may pay higher costs.

How many therapy sessions does TRICARE cover? ›

Treatment must be provided by a TRICARE-approved provider, limited to no more than two sessions per week, and only one session of the same type in a single day. Individual therapy: TRICARE covers psychotherapy sessions lasting up to 60 minutes, and up to 120 minutes for crises.

What does TRICARE not cover? ›

In general, TRICARE excludes services and supplies that are not medically or psychologically necessary for the diagnosis or treatment of a covered illness (including mental disorder), injury, or for the diagnosis and treatment of pregnancy or well-child care.

Which is better, TRICARE Prime or Select? ›

If you're on active duty, you have to enroll in TRICARE Prime. All others can choose to enroll in TRICARE Prime or TRICARE Select. TRICARE Prime offers fewer out-of-pocket costs than TRICARE Select, but less freedom of choice for providers. If you have other health insurance.

What is included in mental health care? ›

A team of professionals—including psychiatrists, psychologists, counselors, and social workers—provides mental healthcare by working together to develop and execute individualized treatment plans for patients. Treatment may involve medication, psychotherapy, counseling, and/or psychiatric hospitalization.

Which medicine is best for mental illness? ›

More information about medicines used to treat mental health
  • Sertraline.
  • Beta blockers.
  • Dosulepin.
  • Duloxetine.
  • Escitalopram.
  • Lamotrigine.
  • Mirtazapine.
  • Paroxetine.

Do mental health services actually help? ›

With appropriate treatment, people can manage their illness, overcome challenges, and lead productive lives. Treatment for mental illness is effective. Mental health services also are covered by most health plans—by law.

What payment can I get for mental health? ›

If your illness is making it hard for you to manage at home or means that you need care or support managing day-to-day tasks, you might be able to claim Personal Independence Payment (PIP) (if you are under pension age) or Attendance Allowance (if you are over pension age).

Why is mental health care so expensive? ›

Factors that make mental health care expensive: Specialized Training and Education. The mental health counselors you're working with have a bachelor's and a master's degree at minimum, which is at least six years of higher education and hundreds of thousands of dollars investment.

How to get free depression medication? ›

Community health clinics often provide mental health services on a sliding scale fee based on income. This means the lower your income, the less you'll pay for certain drugs. Some clinics even have in-house pharmacies with prescription assistance that can offer low-cost or free psychiatric medications.

What services does TRICARE not cover? ›

In general, TRICARE excludes services and supplies that are not medically or psychologically necessary for the diagnosis or treatment of a covered illness (including mental disorder), injury, or for the diagnosis and treatment of pregnancy or well-child care.

What individuals are covered by TRICARE? ›

TRICARE is a health program for:
  • Uniformed Service members and their families,
  • National Guard/Reserve members. Army National Guard. Army Reserve. Navy Reserve. ...
  • Survivors,
  • Former spouses,
  • Medal of Honor recipients and their families, and.
  • Others registered in the Defense Enrollment Eligibility Reporting System (DEERS).
Mar 28, 2024

Does TRICARE cover inpatient care? ›

Yes for medically necessary. services. To learn more, visit the Hospitalization page.

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