Beneficiaries of the Tricare Standard military health care plan no longer need to get a nonavailability statement from their military treatment facility before seeking inpatient care at civilian hospitals. The requirement to get prior permission expired Dec. 28 under a provision of the fiscal 2002 National Defense Authorization Act. A nonavailability statement indicates that care is not available from the military facility and authorizes care at a civilian facility. Under an exception in the law, Tricare Standard beneficiaries still must get a nonavailability statement before seeking nonemergency inpatient mental health care services. However, officials said, this applies only to beneficiaries who use Tricare Standard or Extra, who are not Medicare eligible, and who have no other health insurance that is primary to Tricare. DoD does not require preauthorization for Tricare beneficiary inpatient mental health care when Medicare is the primary payer.
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