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Learn About TRICARE and Military Pharmacies

Understanding how a military pharmacy works can be a critical aspect of receiving discounted or free prescriptions as an active duty military member. The Tricare pharmacy program offers military members the option of filling prescriptions through various means, whether it be through military treatment facility pharmacies, or though Tricare retail network and non-network pharmacies. Members of the military can enjoy significant savings from their prescriptions by enrolling in the pharmacy program through Tricare.

There are certain steps to understand when ordering new prescriptions through Tricare as well as getting refills. In addition, it is important to understand the process of using network military pharmacies and non-network pharmacies. To learn more about the benefits of receiving pharmacy coverage through military benefits, as well as how to fill military prescriptions through certain pharmacies, continue reading below.

What is a military pharmacy?

Before understanding the Tricare pharmacy coverage options, military members should know more about what is offered to them. A military pharmacy offers low cost or no-cost options for filling prescriptions for active duty military members. Active duty military will likely be supplied with generic versions of the prescribed drug over brand name medications when possible.

The Tricare pharmacy formulary will provide a detailed description of all the generic and brand name prescriptions that are covered. Many military pharmacies will accept prescriptions regardless of whether or not they were prescribed by a military provider. Active duty members who have concerns regarding specific prescriptions and availability or certain drugs can contact the nearest pharmacy in person or by telephone. For more information on how to locate these pharmacies, download our comprehensive guide.

How to Fill Prescriptions Through A Military Pharmacy

The Tricare program offers a variety of ways for active duty military members and their families to have prescriptions filled, depending on their specific needs. Prescriptions for military can be filled at one of the following pharmacies:

  • Military Pharmacy
  • Tricare Pharmacy Home Delivery
  • Tricare Network Pharmacy
  • Non-Network Pharmacy

Military members can use one of the above-mentioned pharmacies, or more than one at a time if they so choose. While there are many benefits to using a military pharmacy, some active duty members may also need to go through network retail pharmacies and even non-network pharmacies if need be. Filling a prescription through a non-network pharmacy is the most expensive option, however, it may be necessary if military or Tricare pharmacies do not offer prescriptions that are required.

How to Use a TRICARE Network Pharmacy

Ordering Tricare prescriptions through a network pharmacy is one of the fastest and most convenient ways to receive necessary medication. The Tricare Retail Pharmacy Network allows military members to fill prescriptions and pay one copayment for every 30-day supply. All that he or she will need to provide is the written prescription as well as the uniformed services ID card. What makes this option popular is that prescriptions can be filled at over 58,000 retail pharmacies in the United States, and outside U.S. territories, without needing to submit an insurance claim.

Additionally, military members who are looking to participate in the network Tricare pharmacy program can also use the Express Rx mobile app for faster ways to refill prescriptions and keep track of old prescriptions. Military members can fill their Tricare prescriptions by either asking their provider to send the prescription electronically to a participating pharmacy, or by bringing the written prescription in to the pharmacy themselves. It is worth noting that some non-formulary drugs and select maintenance drugs might not be covered through the network pharmacy option. This often applies to brand name drugs that are prescribed. The majority of the maintenance drugs that are generic can be filled through a network pharmacy. There are even certain vaccines that can be covered at no-cost through participating network pharmacies.

Should you use a civilian pharmacy over a military pharmacy?

A civilian pharmacy or non-network TRICARE pharmacy should be a last resort for active duty military members, as it is often the most expensive option. Non-network military pharmacy options will likely require military members to pay full price for prescription drugs and have to file a claim for reimbursement. However, even when filing a claim for non-network prescriptions, the reimbursements may be subject to deductible, cost shares for out-of-network claims and copays. Military members who live in the United States or a U.S. territory should always consider the Tricare pharmacy program as the first option for prescriptions.

Learn About the TRICARE Pharmacy Locator

Active duty military members will be offered the option of using a Tricare pharmacy locator in order to find the closest location to them. By simply entering a zip code or street address, pharmacies offering Tricare pharmacy program options will be provided, including national chains, grocery chains and even local or independent pharmacies. Military members can even search pharmacies through TRICARE that offer the option of receiving low cost or no cost vaccines, too. Active duty military members may be surprised to find that many of their local grocery stores or big chain pharmacies offer the option to receive their prescriptions through Tricare within.

Find Out About TRICARE Pharmacy Copays

One of the most common questions involving military prescriptions is about the cost to participate. Tricare pharmacy copays and cost-shares are broken down very plainly, making it much simpler to understand for all. A few things to consider when learning about Tricare pharmacy costs includes:

  • Active duty service members will pay no out-of-pocket costs for any type of care through the Tricare program.
  • Active duty family members will only pay for care when using the Tricare Prime plan when getting care without a referral, when using Tricare Select or if they use a network pharmacy or Tricare Home Delivery.
  • Services received at a Military Treatment Facility will be offered at no-cost, except for a small per diem when using inpatient care.

Find out everything you need to know about the costs surrounding Tricare pharmacy copayments by downloading our free guide.