Newly pregnant and can’t decide between TRICARE Prime or TRICARE Select? Here’s a TRICARE refresher to decide what’s best for you.
It doesn’t matter how many times you’ve been pregnant under TRICARE coverage. There are always a few steps you seem to forget or not know due to policy changes — at least that is the case for me.
I am currently pregnant with my third child and I already contacted TRICARE for a refresher on what to do “next” to start my prenatal care. If you’re facing your first pregnancy, or a first pregnancy as a military dependent, you’re probably unsure of where to start. This guide is here to save you time so that you can get your early appointments set with limited stress.
First step: Identify your TRICARE plan
TRICARE Prime means your medical care comes from a military hospital or clinic, or a network provider if the military hospital/clinic cannot provide the care you need.
TRICARE Select is where your health care is from a network or non-network provider of your choice.
In my time as a military spouse, I have swayed back and forth between TRICARE Prime and Select depending on the duty station. I did research about the hospitals in the area to decide the best care for my needs at the time. I encourage you to do this for your pregnancies. I’m lucky to say I had great care at military hospitals and clinics as well as non-military affiliated facilities. However, this is not always the case depending on where you live.
All of my pregnancies have been covered under TRICARE Prime. I delivered my first son at a military hospital. I delivered my second son with a network provider in a non-military hospital because the military hospital wasn’t taking new patients for the duration of my pregnancy.
For my third pregnancy, I will also be seen at a non-military hospital that is a network provider under TRICARE Prime.
If you are TRICARE Prime, your next step is to get your pregnancy confirmed by your primary care manager (PCM). Under this plan, your PCM is assigned to you or you can choose one on your own online or by contacting TRICARE via telephone.
First you will need to take a pregnancy test at your PCM’s office. After your pregnancy is confirmed, then they will refer you to the military hospital/clinic or to a network provider.
Once you have your prenatal care referral confirmed, call the office to schedule your first pregnancy appointment. This appointment is typically where they draw your labs, record your medical history and give you information on what to expect throughout your pregnancy at that clinic or hospital.
If you are under TRICARE Select, you do not need to get a referral from a PCM. You start your prenatal care once you find the network provider you want. You can find a Network Provider through this link.
Your first appointment will be a pregnancy confirmation, discussion of medical history and answer questions typically with a nurse. Then they will schedule your next appointments with an OBGYN or midwife and to take your first set of labs at the second appointment.
Related: Navigating military insurance.
No matter if your plan is Prime or Select, getting your pregnancy confirmed and labs scheduled is the first step to organizing your early prenatal care. After that, the waiting begins. Honestly, that is some of the worst parts of being pregnant.
You’re facing first trimester nausea, you might not be telling people you’re pregnant yet and you’re unsure of what feels normal or not. This is the time to write down your questions for your upcoming appointments with your OBGYN or midwife.
As a third-time mom, I am guilty of walking into my doctor’s appointment unprepared to ask questions. That is why the doctor or midwife is there, to help you navigate your pregnancy. Share your concerns and don’t downplay any pains or sensitivities you’ve physically felt leading up to your appointments. The more you understand about what is happening in your body, the more at peace you will feel as you due date approaches.Read comments