Stress-free traveling during the holidays

Base Info

Stress-free traveling during the holidays

by: TRICARE Operations & Patient Administration, 18th Medical Support Squadron | .
Kadena Air Base | .
published: December 19, 2015

KADENA AIR BASE, Japan -- With the holidays quickly approaching, many Airmen and their families prepare to travel.  Some choose to travel around Japan and other parts of Asia, while others visit family in the United States.  Regardless of the location of travel, Airmen should be aware of what to do in the event of a medical emergency.

In a medical emergency, TRICARE beneficiaries must seek care from the nearest medical facility. TRICARE considers a medical emergency as a physical or psychiatric condition which would result in a threat to life, limb, or eyesight.

For urgent care, illness or injury that requires professional attention within 24-hours, beneficiaries should try to seek care from the nearest military hospital or clinic if within 50 miles of a military treatment facility. If members are outside 50 miles of an MTF, they should call the regional TRICARE office at 012-098-3990 (Japanese phones) or 1-877-678-1208 (U.S. phones) to access a list of local providers and to receive pre-authorization.  Please be aware that you must seek pre-authorization for Urgent Care BEFORE receiving care.  Otherwise, you will not be reimbursed for the visit.

Routine care should be addressed once the member returns to their region. If routine care is required, prior authorization must be obtained before making the appointment outside of their region. Otherwise, members are responsible for the bill and will be denied reimbursement if routine care is sought outside of their respective region.

When seeking emergency or urgent care, members should inform the billing department of their home region so that the correct region will receive the bill.  If this is not done, members may receive the bill from the entity where they received care and payments may be delayed.

Prior to traveling, Airmen should visit and obtain emergency TRICARE contact information for the area of the world they will be traveling.  We also suggest consulting your healthcare provider if there are any health concerns that could potentially affect travel. Additionally, a quick visit to the pharmacy for medication needed during the trip could prevent potential dilemmas.

Members are also encouraged to contact the nearest U.S. embassy for assistance when traveling overseas.  A listing of U.S. embassies and consulates near your location can be found on

With a little planning, service members and their families can enjoy stress-free travels this holiday season.