Here’s what TRICARE will (and won’t) cover when it comes to women’s health


This post is sponsored by The Breastfeeding Shop.

As I lay down in the doctor’s office, waiting for my appointment to start, I could only think about how awkward this was. After having three babies you wouldn’t think this would be anything new, but for some reason, my heart was racing and I couldn’t get rid of the nervous feeling in my stomach.

As a woman using TRICARE, you want to make sure you are seen on a regular basis, and you understand what TRICARE will cover at your appointments. You don’t want to ignore your health.

Well-woman Exams

Well-woman exams are covered annually for women under 65 with no cost or co-pay. They do not have to be because of a covered cancer screening or immunization.

Pelvic exams are covered with your well-woman exam and with Pap smear testing for cervical neoplasms and premalignant lesions. Pap smears will be covered for those over the age of 21. They should also be done at least every three years. They also cover HPV DNA screening for cervical cancer for those 30 and older, but it must be done in conjunction with a Pap smear.

Breast exams

TRICARE covers breast exams depending on your age and breast cancer risk.

Annual breast exams will happen at your doctor’s discretion and annual mammograms will be covered for those ages 40 and older. Women 30 and older who have a 15 percent or greater lifetime risk of breast cancer, according to risk assessment tools, are also be covered. These are based on family history and a myriad of possible risk factors.

Annual Breast Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) in addition to the annual mammogram is covered beginning at age 30 for women who have a 20 percent or greater lifetime risk of breast cancer. Your risk is also based on family history and other risk factors.

Birth control

Yes, TRICARE covers some types of birth control. Most non-prescription contraceptives, non-coital reproductive technologies, and most surgical sterilization reversals aren’t covered. However, they do cover contraceptive diaphragms, intrauterine devices, the Preven Emergency Contraceptive Kit, and FDA-approved implantable prescription contraceptives if using to prevent pregnancy. They also cover non-prescription emergency contraceptives such as Levonorgestrel (Plan B One-Step Emergency Contraceptive). TRICARE covers the insertion, removal, and replacement of an IUD if is FDA-approved.

TRICARE does not cover condoms, nonprescription spermicidal foams, jellies or sprays, or reversal of surgical sterilization unless medically necessary.

Generally, TRICARE  doesn’t cover assisted reproductive services or noncoital reproductive technologies including IVF, artificial insemination, and GIFT. They may cover these procedures in the cases of wounded, ill, or injured service members.

Hormone replacement therapy

TRICARE will cover Hormone Replacement Therapy through the TRICARE pharmacy benefit; however, he drugs must be approved by the FDA and prescribed according to the labeled instructions.

Parent and patient educational counseling

Depending on your needs, counseling regarding the following topics are integrated into doctor’s visits and are covered by TRICARE at no additional charge:

  • Dietary assessment and nutrition
  • Physical activity and exercise
  • Cancer surveillance
  • Safe sexual practices
  • Tobacco, alcohol, and substance abuse
  • Accident and injury prevention
  • Promoting dental health
  • Bereavement and suicide risk assessment

This will allow you to talk with your doctor about these topics and figure out what the best thing to do for your own health.

The Breastfeeding Shop provides name-brand, high-quality breast pumps and breastfeeding supplies. Catering to the military community, the Breastfeeding Shop’s quick and easy service ensures that TRICARE beneficiaries can receive breast pumps and supplies at no-cost to them.

By Julie Provost

Julie Provost is an associate editor at Military One Click and a National Guard spouse. She can be reached at julie@militaryoneclick.com.

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