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TRICARE Insurance For Addiction Treatment

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Does TRICARE Cover Alcohol Rehab?

TRICARE is a government-sponsored health insurance program for active duty, reserves, retired military members, and eligible family members. 

In 2017, TRICARE started covering substance abuse treatment. This includes treatment for alcohol use disorder (AUD). It also covers treatment for various mental health issues that often co-occur with AUD

The variety of treatments and extent of coverage depends on your TRICARE health insurance plan. For example, TRICARE Prime is a managed care option for active-duty military. It features no copays or deductibles for the insured or their beneficiaries.

On the other hand, TRICARE Select does have both deductibles and copays. Therefore, it’s important to know which treatments your plan covers and to what extent.

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TRICARE Health Plans

TRICARE offers the following health insurance plans:

  • TRICARE Prime
  • TRICARE Prime Remote
  • TRICARE Prime Overseas
  • TRICARE Prime Remote Overseas
  • TRICARE Standard and Extra
  • TRICARE Select
  • TRICARE Select Overseas
  • TRICARE For Life
  • TRICARE Reserve Select
  • TRICARE Retired Reserve
  • TRICARE Young Adult
  • US Family Health Plan

Log into milConnect and click on the “Obtain Proof of Health Coverage” option to find out what your TRICARE plan covers.

Does TRICARE Cover Substance Abuse and Mental Health Treatment?

TRICARE offers a wide variety of substance abuse and mental health treatment options, including:

TRICARE Coverage for Detoxification

Detoxification (detox) is when a person quits drinking alcohol to remove toxins from their body. This also applies to certain drugs. 

When the body becomes dependent on alcohol, brain and body chemistry change. The body depends on alcohol to keep some body systems running. Stopping alcohol suddenly without medical support can result in brain and body malfunction, fluid balance upset, and even seizures and death.

Similar occurrences may occur when a person’s body becomes dependent on other drugs.

Detox leads to alcohol withdrawal, which is dangerous and often requires medical assistance. This is known as a medically-assisted detox.

TRICARE insurance can provide coverage for the medical care you need to manage these withdrawal symptoms.

TRICARE Coverage for Inpatient Treatment

TRICARE covers both emergency and non-emergency inpatient treatment. Emergency inpatient hospital stays are covered if you have an immediate medical emergency. You’ll receive substance abuse treatment at the closest hospital in your area.

If you have an alcohol use disorder (AUD) or mental health issue, TRICARE will cover:

  • Detox and stabilization
  • Any related medical issues

TRICARE Coverage for Intensive Outpatient Treatment

Intensive outpatient treatment is when someone requires therapy on a part-time basis at a local rehab center. Sometimes partial hospitalization is also required in these situations. 

Unlike inpatient treatment, the person returns home at night after outpatient treatment finishes. Treatment may also be part-time rather than full-time.

TRICARE will cover your alcohol rehab on an outpatient basis if:

  • You have an alcohol use disorder (AUD)
  • Full-time inpatient treatment isn’t needed
  • You require stabilization or relapse prevention
  • Withdrawal symptom management is needed
  • You’re shifting from partial hospitalization
  • You’re moving from regular outpatient or inpatient treatment

TRICARE will also cover any accompanying mental health issues on an outpatient basis.

TRICARE Coverage for Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT)

Sometimes, alcohol withdrawal symptoms and cravings need to be managed with medication. This is known as medication-assisted treatment (MAT). It's often used in combination with inpatient treatment and mental health therapy.

TRICARE will cover MAT for alcohol rehab if the medications are government-approved.

The following drugs are FDA-approved for alcohol rehab:

These drugs can be used to help with detoxing or for ongoing medical support, such as intensive outpatient treatment.

TRICARE Coverage for Mental Health Treatment

Referred to by TRICARE as Mental Health Therapeutic Services, TRICARE will cover the following:

  • Psychotherapy
  • Psychoanalysis
  • Psychological tests and assessment
  • Psychotropic drugs
  • Electroconvulsive therapy
  • Collateral treatment
  • Medication-assisted treatment (MAT)
  • Ancillary therapies, which can involve art, dance, or music

These therapies address any related mental health disorder, such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), anxiety, or depression. They can be done on a personal, group, or familial basis. 

They can also be done in conjunction with other approaches, such as medication-assisted treatment (MAT).

Other Services Covered by TRICARE

TRICARE also covers:

  • Opioid treatment programs
  • Office-based opioid treatment
  • Residential substance use disorder (SUD) treatment
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What TRICARE Won’t Cover

TRICARE won’t cover aversion therapy or any “unproven treatments.” Aversion therapy is the use of an unpleasant sensation to correct behavior issues. 

“Unproven treatments” simply refers to treatments that are not evidence-based.

An example of this would be electroshock therapy. This shouldn't be confused with electroconvulsive therapy, a treatment for bipolar disorder.

A variety of evidence-based treatments can be used in alcohol rehab.

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), these include:

Insurance Can Help Pay for Addiction Treatment

Call now to speak with a specialist about your insurance benefits.

How can you pay the costs not covered by TRICARE insurance?

If you use providers who are part of the TRICARE Network, then you only pay any remaining charges after TRICARE has paid their negotiated rates. 

You can also use secondary health insurance to pay the remainder.

Note: If you choose a provider that's out-of-network, your cost may be 15 to 20% higher. 

To find out more details on your TRICARE coverage, speak to a TRICARE representative.

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Updated on May 17, 2022
6 sources cited
  1. Absher, Jim. “The Tricare Prime Program.” military.com, 2020.
  2. Military Benefit Association. “TRICARE Deductibles and Costs.
  3. National Institute on Drug Abuse. “Evidence-Based Approaches to Drug Addiction Treatment.” 2018.
  4. TRICARE. “Covered Services.” TRICARE Mental Health Therapeutic Services, 2020.
  5. TRICARE. “Health Plans.” 2021.
  6. TRICARE. “Substance Use Disorder Treatment.” 2018.

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