Defense Health Care: TRICARE Multiyear Surveys Indicate Problems with Access to Care for Nonenrolled Beneficiaries
GOVERNMENT ACCOUNTABILITY OFFICE WASHINGTON DC
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DOD provides health and mental health care through its TRICARE program. TRICARE offers three basic options. Beneficiaries who choose TRICARE Prime, an option that uses civilian provider networks, must enroll. Beneficiaries who do not enroll in this option may obtain care from non-network providers under TRICARE Standard or from network providers under TRICARE Extra. In addition, qualified National Guard and Reserve servicemembers may purchase TRICARE Reserve Select, a plan whose care options are similar to those of TRICARE Standard and TRICARE Extra. GAO refers to servicemembers who use TRICARE Standard, TRICARE Extra, or TRICARE Reserve Select as nonenrolled beneficiaries. The National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2008 directed DOD to conduct annual surveys over fiscal years 2008 through 2011 of both beneficiaries and civilian providers to determine the adequacy of access to health and mental health care providers for nonenrolled beneficiaries. It also directed GAO to review these surveys. This report addresses 1 what the results of the 4-year beneficiary surveys indicate about the adequacy of access to care for nonenrolled beneficiaries 2 what the results of the 4-year civilian provider surveys indicate about civilian providers awareness and acceptance of TRICARE, and 3 what the collective results of the surveys indicate about access to care by geographic area. To do so, GAO interviewed DOD officials, obtained relevant documentation, and analyzed the data for both surveys over the 4-year period.
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