One of the questions that is frequently asked among military families is about switching to Tricare Standard.
For those of you who don’t know, Tricare is our health insurance as military families. When you first sign up, you are in Tricare Prime (and military members themselves MUST be on Prime). With Prime, you see the medical professionals on base unless they refer you out somewhere else. And with Prime, you probably won’t pay anything. My husband has been in the military for five years now and our entire family was on Prime for the majority of that time. Tricare Standard gives you the ability to go to off medical professionals. However with Standard you will pay a co-pay.
When we moved to WPAFB and found out that Baby #2 was coming, I initially went to the Women’s Health Clinic on base where they had OBs and midwives and planned to deliver Adelaide at the base hospital. Somewhere near the end of the second trimester, I decided that I would rather be seen off-base for my prenatal care and deliver the baby at the off-base hospital. Caleb was on-board with whatever I wanted, but we were both interested (nervous?) to see how much we would end up paying out-of-pocket.
From the time I switched to Standard until the actual delivery, I had a few small bills. $10, for instance, to run some blood work. Near the end of my pregnancy when I got the flu I had an ER visit that ended up costing us about $140. But as far as the actual birth goes, we paid $25.
The $25 covered my entire delivery and recovery time: an induction, an epidural and a 24 hour stay post-delivery. (I could have stayed for another day, but chose to go home).
If you are considering switching to Standard while pregnant and trying t to keep your out-of-pocket expenses low, here are a few suggestions.
- While on Standard you can still get your prescriptions filled on base, but since the base pharmacy doesn’t charge a co-pay, you save money each time. I did this during my pregnancy. Instead of sending the presciption order to a local drug store, my doctor would print off a copy that I would take on base to be filled.
- Talk with your doctor about letting you do any blood work or immunizations on base because, again, it’s free if it is on base.
- Post-delivery the same is true. If you need medication, birth control or even an IUD take a prescription on base to save money.
Have you had a baby while on Tricare Standard? I would love to hear what city you were in and how much you paid.
If you delivered on Tricare Prime, how was your experience?