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Drug Rehabs Covered by Tricare or Military Insurance in the USA

Last updated on: Tuesday, 19 September 2023
  • What You'll Learn

Tricare health insurance offers numerous active-duty military and veteran treatment options. DRS provides an extensive list of substance use treatment programs that accept Tricare health plans.


Substance abuse is an unfortunate problem within the United States Armed Forces. According to the National Institutes of Health, the stresses of deployment and the unique culture are risk factors for substance use. The TRICARE health system for military personnel expanded its treatment services to include intensive outpatient programs.

However, DRS believes that residential drug rehab continues to be the best approach. Yet, every circumstance and opportunity to access this level of care is different for each person. Our directory provides a comprehensive list of numerous programs that work with military personnel and veterans.

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Tricare Coverage

In 2017, Tricare made massive changes to their mental health benefits, which include substance abuse treatment for addiction. This has continued to help active duty service members who have a Tricare health insurance plan. This expansion included treatment for opioid addiction and other substance abuse issues. Benefits provided through Tricare include emergency and non-emergency inpatient hospitalization. This is a good form of help for addicts going through dangerous drug withdrawals. Hospital inpatient services are essential to managing withdrawal pains. The expansion of services also covered inpatient/residential substance abuse treatment. Residential drug rehab centers provide everything the patient will need on-site. These are live-in facilities where the patient will stay during the course of his or her treatment. Inpatient drug rehab is the most effective way to help addicts who are struggling with difficult addictions. If an addict has been through treatment before, they can benefit from attending a residential drug rehab center. The length of time spent treating the addiction will be important for long-term recovery and sobriety. Speak to your Tricare representative to find out what type of residential treatment will be covered by your plan. Partial hospitalization programs and outpatient services were also expanded on to help clients of Tricare. Outpatient drug rehab will be office-based treatment done throughout the week. This is a number of days each week for a certain number of hours each day. Outpatient drug treatment will benefit addicts who are still working or maintaining a family life. These changes made my Tricare in 2017 have given families more flexibility. Over the last couple of years since these changes have been made, Tricare has worked to increase the number of treatment services. For example, the limit for the number of times per week a person can get help for addiction has been removed. Clients who have an opioid abuse problem can qualify for certain treatment methods through their policy. Tricare will cover an opioid treatment program when someone has been diagnosed with an opioid use addiction. Substance abuse impacts active duty service members all throughout the United States. It is important for these members and their families to have access to the treatment they need.

Military Insurance Coverage

There are numerous health insurance providers all throughout the United States that provide health insurance for active duty, retired U.S. Military personnel, veterans, and their dependents. Health insurance coverage is always changing, and of course, is different from provider to provider. Health insurance coverage for military personnel and veterans has expanded to include drug and alcohol rehabilitation and treatment services. This changed a great deal due to the increasing problem of active-duty service members and veterans becoming addicted to drugs and or alcohol or suffering from various forms of substance abuse problems. Throughout the United States, there are different treatment centers, both private and government-funded, that will accept military personnel health insurance coverage. Each center accepts different forms of coverage as there are so many different insurance providers for active-duty service members and veterans. Health insurance providers expanding their coverage to include drug and alcohol treatment centers has helped a great number of military personnel and veterans get the help they need for substance abuse problems. With prescription medications and alcohol abuse being a recurring problem within the military, there had to have been measures taken to provide help and support to curb this problem, with one of the measures being expanding health insurance coverage to include the coverage of different forms of drug and alcohol treatment. The military currently uses a system called Tricare, which comes in three different forms, Tricare Prime, Tricare Standard, and Tricare Extra. Tricare is a part of the Military Health System, which is an organization within the Department of Defense. The Military Health System provides care to retired military personnel of the United States, active-duty personnel, and their dependents. The main goal of the Military Health System is to maintain the health of current military personnel so that missions can be carried out and to provide health care during wartime. Tricare, on the other hand, is more of the benefits and insurance provider for all military personnel, retirees, and their dependents. Tricare was formally known as the Civilian Health and Medical Programs of the Uniformed Services and is the civilian care component within the Military Health System that provides insurance and benefits for military personnel, retirees, and all of their dependents. The options within Tricare are the Tricare Standard, which provides benefits for retirees of the military who are 60 or older and their eligible family members. They can use any civilian health care provider that is payable under Tricare and is responsible for paying an annual deductible and their coinsurance, along with any out-of-pocket expenses. There is also Tricare Extra, which is available to Tricare Standard beneficiaries to allow access to civilian health care providers within their provider network, and their coinsurance amount is also reduced. Finally, there is Tricare Prime, which is a health maintenance organization that is available to all active-duty members, retirees, and all eligible family members. They can choose a primary doctor, and through this can obtain referrals to organizations that provide specialty care, which could possibly include drug and alcohol treatment.

Unfortunately, there are gaps in coverage; in 2010, there was a reported over one million non-elderly veterans in the United States who did not have health insurance coverage or access to Veterans Affairs. This can, of course, make it very difficult for these individuals to seek out help for substance abuse and addiction problems. Close to 900,000 veterans use the health care provided by Veterans Affairs, but unfortunately, they have no other coverage, and close to 40% of these men and women are under the age of 45. When the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act were brought forward in 2010, it has since been easier for uninsured veterans to now obtain full coverage. As the systems are continually changing, more help is becoming available for members of the military, their families, retirees, and veterans. Because drug and alcohol addiction is no longer really ignored and pushed aside within the military, treatment centers are now equipping themselves to help these individuals. This can be in the form of detox, residential and outpatient care, therapy and counseling, and various other forms of traditional therapy. With health insurance providers extending their care options, it has now become easier for military personnel to acquire the right kind of help for substance abuse and addiction problems. The United States Veterans Affairs Administration is the public medical care program provided to former military service members. The VA is not a health insurance program yet offers healthcare services for veterans. A veteran can still receive treatment at a V.A. hospital whether or not they have health insurance. When a veteran has private health insurance, the V.A. hospital will bill the veteran’s private insurance for services. If for example, a veteran does not have health insurance, they can apply for Medicaid at the V.A. hospital. Veterans Affairs is essentially the foundation of healthcare treatment for veterans. Yet there are other health insurance programs to help veterans. This does allow veterans to expand treatment access and get the help they need. The VA will contract with non-VA healthcare facilities to ensure the proper help is offered. Per the benefits.gov website, V.A. healthcare does ensure comprehensive treatment. There are two priority groups for treatment. Priority groups 1 through 3 are veterans who have received disability, former prisoners of war, and Purple Heart or Medal of Honor recipients. There are also priority groups 4 through 8, which include veterans who have been diagnosed with chemical exposure. This group includes certain income levels, specific combat statuses, and other diagnosed medical conditions. As mentioned above, Tricare is a private insurance program for active-duty service members and veterans of the U.S. Armed Forces. The VA can help members who are addicted to drugs through hospital inpatient treatment. However, it is Tricare that will cover substance treatment through V.A. hospitals. Veterans can also apply for Medicare and Medicaid. Over 1.75 million veterans use Medicaid coverage to some extent. In fact, 2 out of every five veterans have Medicaid as their sole coverage for health insurance. Medicare does not provide the same level of comprehensive treatment as a V.A. hospital does. Essentially some programs are easier to access than others. Veterans who are struggling with addiction should reach out to the V.A. hospital. It is also important to contact your health insurance provider and find out what coverage you have.




More Information

Marcel Gemme has been helping people struggling with addiction for over 19 years. He first started as an intake counselor for a drug rehabilitation center in 2000. During his 5 years as an intake counselor, he helped many addicts get the treatment they needed. He also dealt with the families and friends of those people; he saw first-hand how much strain addiction puts on a family and how it can tear relationships apart. With drug and alcohol problems constantly on the rise in the United States and Canada, he decided to use the Internet as a way to educate and help many more people in both those countries. This was 15 years ago. Since then, Marcel has built two of the largest websites in the U.S. and Canada which reach and help millions of people each year. He is an author and a leader in the field of drug and alcohol addiction. His main focus is threefold: education, prevention and rehabilitation. To this day, he still strives to be at the forefront of technology in order to help more and more people. He is a Licensed Drug and Alcohol Treatment Specialist graduate with Honours of Stratford Career Institute. Marcel has also received a certificate from Harvard for completing a course entitled The Opioid Crisis in America and a certificate from The University of Adelaide for completing a course entitled AddictionX: Managing Addiction: A Framework for Succesful Treatment.



More Information

Michael Leach is a Certified Clinical Medical Assistant, who has over 5 years of experience working in the field of addiction. He spent his career working under the board-certified Addictionologist Dr. Rohit Adi. His experience includes working with families during their loved one’s stay in treatment, helping those with substance abuse issues find treatment, and teaching life skills to patients in a recovery atmosphere. Though he has worked in many different areas of rehabilitation, the majority of his time was spent working one on one with patients who were actively withdrawing from drugs. Withdrawal and the fear of going through it is one biggest reason why an addict continues to use and can be the most difficult part of the rehabilitation process. His experience in the withdrawal atmosphere has taught him that regardless of what approach a person takes to get off drugs, there are always mental and emotional obstacles that need to be overcome. He believes having someone there to help a person through these obstacles can make all the difference during the withdrawal process.