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Old 10-01-2012
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Experiences with Tricare while cruising?

I'm retired Navy and planning on cutting the dock lines shortly. I'm on Tricare right now and will be under age 62 while cruising. Frankly, I've never had any other medical insurance other than military and Tricare.

I've got some medical issues that require prescriptions and regular checkups.
I am, simply put, not insurable - no one will sell me life or medical insurance anywhere never a price I can afford.

Any of you live aboards and or cruisers out there feel like sharing how you've made it work?
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Old 10-01-2012
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Re: Experiences with Tricare while cruising?

How about the VA healthcare system? There are VA healthcare centers everywhere, medication costs are very low, and you can apply online.

Gary
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Old 10-01-2012
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Re: Experiences with Tricare while cruising?

Chuckles - I'm in the same boat. Have just starting researching the issue. For cruising in the US, TriCare should be fine. Overseas there is a program details at TRICARE Benefit Updates.

Like you, I am very interested is hearing firt-hand accounts of those using TriCare in thier travels.
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Re: Experiences with Tricare while cruising?

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Originally Posted by travlineasy View Post
How about the VA healthcare system? There are VA healthcare centers everywhere, medication costs are very low, and you can apply online.

Gary
Retiree's don't get to use the VA as far as I know.
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Re: Experiences with Tricare while cruising?

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Originally Posted by johnnyquest37 View Post
Chuckles - I'm in the same boat. Have just starting researching the issue. For cruising in the US, TriCare should be fine. Overseas there is a program details at TRICARE Benefit Updates.

Like you, I am very interested is hearing firt-hand accounts of those using TriCare in thier travels.
Cool, thanks for the link - it looks like it's possible - but may be limited to host nations and you have to pay first and get reimbursed later. That's a show stopper if you need major medical (heart attack etc..).

Looks like I'll be hanging out around Puerto Rico for a while.
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Re: Experiences with Tricare while cruising?

There are sections in the tricare web site that talk about overseas care. First, you are on Standard or Prime until you get to 65. At 65 you get Tricare for Life but only in the United States. (No comment about what might happen to Tricare - this is the sailing, not political thread.) In the rest of the world you get Tricare Standard after age 65 so the strategy is get stabilized and get back to the US. Each country has a different Tricare manager - they are all listed on the international part of the Tricare web site.

A couple of other things I have learned:
1) The Express Scripts Tricare Pharmacy can not ship overseas. You need an intermediary in the US to get the delivery and forward it to you.
2) Certain countries will not let you import drugs. I am in Spain - no way can I get my drugs delivered from my agent in the US (who got it from Express Scripts.) On the other hand many common drugs do not require prescriptions - I am on Lipator and Palvix both of which are over the counter here in Spain. As long as you are willing to pay they will sell you any quantity - when I leave Spain I will stock up with a three month supply - by then I should be in the USVI or Puerto Rico where the USPS will deliver the drugs.Doctors and Pharmacies can send drugs to Spain but my attempts to do that were a losing battle.
3)) If you call Express Scripts they will give you a six month supply - called a vacation supply, but I think only once per year.
4) You do have to pay for the drugs, but again cost can depend on where you are. In Spain I paid about 100 € for a three month supply of both Lipator and Plavix. The cost in the US would have been considerably higher. I have not yet gotten the reimbursement for the drugs. It is on my round-to-it list.

Summary - best you can do out of the US is Tricare Standard after 65. Stock up as best you can on drugs, know the drug import policies for the places you intend to visit.

Hope this helps. If you learn more please share it here.
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Re: Experiences with Tricare while cruising?

I should think a base hospital could/would give you enough to last. maybe a 6mo supply? Tell them what/why you need the added dose. I know when we went overseas they gave me a 6 mo supply no problem. Nothing fails, but a try.
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Re: Experiences with Tricare while cruising?

I am retired and I use the VA.

Do You Qualify For VA Health Care? (VA Health Care Eligibility & Enrollment)
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Old 10-02-2012
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Re: Experiences with Tricare while cruising?

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Originally Posted by travlineasy View Post
Qualifying for the VA is dependent upon your circumstances not on your retirement. I have been out to the web site and don't qualify. You might so it is worth a trip to fill out the form and see.

New topic - OVERSEAS BASES

Overseas bases are not like those in the US. They are governed by Status of Forces agreements. They may be joint bases with the host country controlling a lot of the policy. For example in Rota, Spain the base is run by the Spanish. Retired can not use the Commissary or the Exchange but are permitted to use the mini-mart. The mini-mart is quite big and well stocked but it is not the Commissary. I got my hair cut but I think that was just because I was there and technically I was not authorized to use the barber shop. What you can do varies from country to country. Most have no marina facilities Access in Rota is controlled by the Spanish. You have to get a new pass every two days. Summary - don't plan to go to a US overseas base and expect the same reception and services that you would get in the US.

US BASES:

Get a copy of Skipper Bob's Guide to Military Marinas. It is free if you send them an email. Good places to stop to reprovision and they will be cheaper than the local economy. They are seasonal and may be hard to get into (e.g. Key West NAF in the winter.) Call well ahead - several months in fact. Again, policies vary. In Key West everyone must be a US Citizen. In other bases NATO allies are welcomed, in others as long as you vouch for them and they are in the US legally there will be no problem In one unnamed base (you will see why in a minute) the CO extended the courtesy of docking two Canadian boats I was traveling with for a couple of days as long as I was willing to vouch for their conduct. (That was a stretch, they were cruisers after all.) Don't depend on historic data. A new CO can change the policies overnight and in my experience this does happen with some regularity.

Enjoy your new cruising life.
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Re: Experiences with Tricare while cruising?

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Originally Posted by chucklesR View Post
Retiree's don't get to use the VA as far as I know.
One thing I have learned over the years is that the VA has rules that are positively Byzantine in complexity. It isn't always obvious who qualifies and what your benefits are. Fill out the web-based application form at the URL given above and determine your eligibility.

I'm watching this thread with great interest! In a few years I'll be where you are now.

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Last edited by dacap06; 10-02-2012 at 06:48 AM.
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