By Megan Jones, Marketing Director at Government & Civil Employee Services
Working with Veterans as the Marketing Director for GCES I consistently speak to military families who do not fully understand their health care and benefit packages. When talking about benefit packages, I am referring to all of the services, the resources, and the information that is available to you and your dependents. Health care is about your well-being, living a healthy lifestyle, and utilizing preventative care. Not knowing everything there is to know about your healthcare means you could potentially miss opportunities to obtain the greatest services available. Military families are covered under the TRICARE Network and unbelievably are oblivious to the many special services they are entitled to depending on their eligibility and selected plan.
TRICARE, is a Health System Network that serves Active Duty Members of the Military, their families, and retirees. It has staggering statistics with a total of 9.6 million participants, 56 military hospitals, and 361 medical clinics. In any given week TRICARE has 2,372 babies born, and over 2.6 million prescriptions filled! TRICARE is a huge network, that covers the entire world. Due to the great scope of the military health care network, many individuals are missing out on some pretty unique and valuable benefits that this network offers. The wide range of services obtainable through TRICARE can assist families through all stages of life. Additional information on all the specific services TRICARE offers including eligibility and enrollment options are always accessible on the TRICARE website @ www.tricare.mil. However, here are a few services you may not have known TRICARE offers:
1. Parenting and Pregnancy Resources:
This program is specific for military families who have existing children, who are expecting or planning to adopt. TRICARE provides informative services for families to gain the knowledge and confidence they need to have a healthy and successful pregnancy. Members have access to a goal oriented guide to childbirth, and admittance to a live online forum to chat with real moms and dads that have recently brought home a new baby. This feature is intended to help parents cope with postpartum depression and other issues and or concerns that may surface after giving birth or after adoption.
Further assistances include pregnancy and breastfeeding guidance, health and nutrition coaching, and a free app called Text4baby that makes it even easier for you to get critical health and safety information messaged directly to your phone.
TRICARE also supports low income families by connecting them with The Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) Program both overseas or stateside. The WIC Program provides you and your family with several important benefits, such as vouchers for nutritious food, tips on how to prepare balanced meals, nutrition and health screenings that will ensure that you and your family lead healthier lives.
Parents can receive advocacy and support services through TRICARE as well. Confidential services, include non-medical counseling and specialty consultations, which are available through Military OneSource. Eligible individuals may receive confidential services at no cost.
2. Mental Health Programs and Resources:
TRICARE offers many ways to receive help and ensure the mental health and wellbeing of their participants!
A Military Crisis Line is available for Veterans and Service Members or if you are concerned about one. This line offers the capability for call ins, text messages and online chat to reach trained professionals at any time. There is also the Coast Guard Employee Assistance Program (EAP) which provides confidential help before a concern becomes a crisis. This is for U.S. Coast Guard members, civilians, and their families. inTransition is another benefit provided to members that will assist if you are between mental health care providers due to transferring to a new location or separating from active duty. With TRICARE members can receive services through the Military OneSource program which provides advice and support about military family issues. They offer help with relationship problems, spouse employment, and mental health. This service is for active duty service members and their families, anytime.
3. Health and Wellness Programs and Resources:
TRICARE wants to assist their members to a healthier lifestyle, Operation Live Well offers tools, resources and outreach materials to help you. The main focus of this program is Integrative Wellness, Nutrition, Tobacco-Free Living and Preventative Health.
TRICARE offers military branch specific fitness programs that promote soldier and family fitness and provide health centers for daily use. Operation Live Well cookbooks, meal plans, family health and nutrition guides and campaigns are all available for members to utilize for eating well and help their members perform their best and look their best.
The Military Health System (MHS) is committed to the long-term health and vitality of our nation’s warfighters, their families, retirees, and civilians. Part of maintaining readiness is preventing the onset of diseases and injuries that pose a threat to the Defense community. They assist with Children’s Health, Heart Health, Immunizations, Men’s Health, Women’s Health, Summer Safety and Winter Safety.
TRICARE offers campaigns, resources and tools for Alcohol Awareness, Tobacco Cessation, and Preventive Services.
In conclusion, it is extremely important to fully understand your health benefits, and to know the distinct services your health plan may allocate to you and your family! At Government & Civil Employee Services (GCES), we work with veterans, federal, state and civil employees and retirees to help them better understand their specific benefits and retirement and can help you understand all of the options available. If you need help navigating your current benefits visit us at www.gces.us to receive a free benefit consultation.