June 1, 2000
The TRICARE program is designed to provide for the health care needs of those on active duty, their family members, and retirees and their family members. TRICARE is a complicated health care system with several different parts. One key component is Prime, the managed care portion of the Defense Health Plan (DHP). One must enroll in Prime in order to receive care under it; however, other options for receiving care do not require enrollment. This study responds to tasking from the Under Secretary of Defense (USD) for Personnel and Readiness concerning the feasibility of an enrollment system for the DHP. Under Prime, enrollment is a requirement for receiving care. In a limited sense, enrollment is not only possible but currently under way. We believe, however, that the more important question and one posed under the tasking is whether universal enrollment is feasible. As we'll show, Prime pertains to a relatively important and growing part of the beneficiary population that relies on military treatment facilities (MTF)-military clinics and hospitals-for health care. The other user of the MTFs rely on space-available care. These people don't have to enroll to use military healthcare providers or facilities; they use the NTFs for care when there is sufficient capacity.
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