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Behavioral Health Options for Military Couples

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            “Military life can often cause stress for couples and families,” said Rear Adm. Christine Hunter, deputy director of the TRICARE Management Activity. “Long deployments, worries about job-related danger, and frequent moves can take their toll. For these reasons, TRICARE considers marital therapy an essential part of behavioral health care.” 
  
            Marital therapy or counseling can be covered by TRICARE Prime when it’s based on a behavioral health diagnostic evaluation by a TRICARE provider. TRICARE Prime-enrolled spouses of active duty service members can seek marital therapy or counseling in the U.S. or overseas as part of the first eight outpatient behavioral health care visits allowed per fiscal year. This can be done without a referral from a primary care manager or prior authorization from their regional health care contractor. Active duty service members need a referral for all behavioral health care received in the TRICARE network.

            Professionals in the TRICARE network authorized to provide marital therapy include psychiatrists, psychologists, certified psychiatric nurse specialists, clinical social workers and certified marriage and family therapists. TRICARE-authorized pastoral and mental health counselors can provide therapy or counseling services under a physician’s supervision.

            After the first eight visits, non-active duty beneficiaries must get authorization from their regional health care contractor to continue treatment. To reduce their out-of-pocket expenses, beneficiaries are encouraged to use a TRICARE network provider.

            Non-medical marital and family counseling services that do not require a medical referral and are not recorded in a beneficiary’s medical record are robust and flexible to meet the needs of service members and their families. These confidential services are largely staffed by professional mental health providers and include programs such as Military One Source, with counselors near military installations and in communities of Reserve families; the services’ family support programs; military family life consultants; family advocacy and chaplain programs.

            Active duty family members enrolled in TRICARE Prime or TRICARE Prime Remote can call their regional Behavioral Health Care Provider Locator and Appointment Assistance Line for help locating and making appointments with network behavioral health care providers in their area. The toll-free numbers are: North Region, 1-877-747-9579; South Region, 1-877-298-3514; and in the West Region, 1-866-651- 4970. Hours vary according to region. TRICARE Prime Overseas beneficiaries can get information about host nation providers from their local military treatment facility or TRICARE Service Center. The nearest TRICARE Service Center can be found atwww.tricare.mil/overseasTSC.

            To view TRICARE’s behavioral health options visit our Mental Health Resource Center atwww.tricare.mil/mentalhealth