Host-Nation Dentists Provide Care to Overseas Families
By Gerry J. Gilmore
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, Nov. 13, 2007 – Tricare, the military’s health maintenance organization, has enlisted host-nation dentists to provide dental care for overseas-based military family members, a senior military officer said.
The recently enacted initiative was launched as the result of survey responses from Tricare-served military families living abroad, according to Air Force Col. (Dr.) Gary C. Martin, director of the Tricare Management Activity’s dental care division.
Before the change, overseas-posted military families furnished the upfront dental costs if treated by off-post host-nation dentists in places like Germany or Korea, Martin said.
Surveys indicated that many junior-enlisted families living overseas couldn’t afford to pay a $400 or $500 dental bill while waiting for their Tricare Dental Program reimbursement payment to arrive, Martin said.
Tricare has signed agreements with about 45 host-nation dentists located mostly in Germany, where the need seemed greatest, Martin, a military dentist himself, explained.
In a related development, Tricare dental program enrollees who reside overseas will need to be command-sponsored as of Dec. 3 to receive overseas Tricare dental program cost-share benefits, according to a Tricare Management Activity news release. If not command sponsored, overseas enrollees will be responsible for the same cost-shares as beneficiaries living in the United States.
The change was made to align with other Tricare programs and Defense-Department Tricare policy, according to the release.
Military family members living overseas can obtain a listing of the Tricare-preferred dentists from their local military medical clinic or hospital, Martin said, or by accessing Tricare’s dental Web site at www.tricaredentalprogram.com.
“We want to make sure that we take care of the health of our beneficiaries. That’s our No. 1 goal,” Martin said. “And, anything that we can do to enhance that, we certainly want to do it.”