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Tricare unveils new extended health-care option


FALLS CHURCH, Va. -- Tricare's Extended Care Health Option will be available for beneficiaries of active-duty family members with defined qualifying conditions Sept. 1.

Beneficiaries currently receiving care through the Program for Persons with Disabilities and not qualified for ECHO will continue care through Tricare program options.

This new program will deliver financial assistance and additional benefits, including supplies and services, beyond those available within Tricare Prime, Tricare Standard or Tricare Extra. The benefit also increases the monthly government cost share from $1,000 to $2,500 per eligible family member. Additionally, homebound beneficiaries may qualify for extended in-home health care.

Active-duty family members with one of the following conditions may qualify for ECHO benefits:

* Moderate or severe mental retardation.

* A serious physical disability.

* An extraordinary physical or psychological condition of such complexity that the beneficiary is homebound.

Multiple disabilities involving two or more separate body systems may result in a qualifying condition determination.

The health option requires all eligible beneficiaries to enroll in the exceptional family member program of their sponsors' military service and to register with their regional contractor or Overseas Tricare Area Office to obtain ECHO benefit authorization.

To complete exceptional family member program enrollment, eligible beneficiaries must obtain a DD form 2792, medical summary, and/or DD form 2792-1, special education/early intervention summary, and submit the forms to their special needs coordinator for processing.

Upon completion of enrollment, the sponsor must then show proof of enrollment to the regional contractor for registration into the ECHO program. The Defense Enrollment Eligibility Reporting System will then be updated to indicate the beneficiary is eligible.

Beneficiaries must use public funds or programs first to the extent they are available and adequate for ECHO benefits related to training, rehabilitation, special education, assistive technology devices, institutional care in private, nonprofit, public, state institutions or other medical facilities and if appropriate, transportation to and from such institutions and facilities.

For more information about ECHO benefits, eligibility requirements, updates, and EFMP registration, beneficiaries may refer to the ECHO Fact Sheet, or visit the Tricare Web site at www.tricare.osd.mil/echo. Beneficiaries may also the Tricare Regional Office North at 877-874-2273, TRO South at 800-444-5445, or TRO West 888- 874-9378. Overseas beneficiaries may call 888-777-8343.

(Courtesy of Tricare Management Activity)



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