TRICARE Reserve Select Benefits

by | Tricare | 1 comment

Navigating the world of military health benefits can feel like a maze, but understanding your options is crucial for making informed decisions. If you’re a member of the Selected Reserve, you’ve likely heard of TRICARE Reserve Select (TRS)—a comprehensive, cost-effective health plan designed specifically for you and your family. But what makes TRS stand out, and why should you consider it?

TRS offers a blend of flexibility, affordability, and coverage that’s hard to beat, providing peace of mind for reservists and their loved ones. Whether you’re looking for routine care, emergency services, or prescription coverage, TRS has you covered. In the following sections, we’ll dive deeper into the benefits, eligibility requirements, and how to make the most out of your TRICARE Reserve Select plan. Stay tuned to unravel the layers of this valuable resource, ensuring you and your family stay healthy and well-protected.

Understanding Tricare Reserve Select

Diving deeper into TRICARE Reserve Select (TRS), it’s important for reservists and their families to grasp the full scope of this health plan. TRS stands out by providing premium-based health coverage exclusively designed for members of the Selected Reserve, including both the National Guard and Reserve members. This section will guide you through the crucial details of TRS, including benefits, eligibility, and how to maximize your plan.

Key Benefits of TRS

TRS offers a range of benefits that mirror those available in the TRICARE Standard and Extra plans for active-duty members, but with the flexibility suited for the reserve component. Coverage includes preventive care, doctor visits, hospitalizations, maternity care, mental health services, and prescriptions. Importantly, TRS allows you to receive care from any TRICARE-authorized provider, offering both in-network and out-of-network options, which provides a balance between choice and cost.

Eligibility Criteria

Eligibility for TRS is restricted to members of the Selected Reserve who are not eligible for or enrolled in the Federal Employee Health Benefits (FEHB) program. This includes those members who have been called to active service for more than 30 consecutive days. If you meet these criteria, you, your spouse, and your dependent children can enroll in TRS.

Enrolling in TRS

Enrollment into TRS isn’t automatic. You must actively opt-in during the open season or within specific qualifying life events, such as marriage, birth of a child, or a change in military status. You’ll need to complete the required forms and submit them along with the applicable premiums to the Defense Manpower Data Center. Remember, coverage begins on the first day of the month following the receipt of your enrollment form and initial premium payment.

Maximizing Your TRS Plan

To make the most of your TRS coverage, understanding your benefits and how to appropriately access them is key. Utilizing in-network providers ensures lower out-of-pocket costs. Moreover, staying informed about preventive services covered under TRS can help avoid unnecessary expenses. Regularly reviewing and updating your plan based on your family’s changing health needs also contributes to maximizing your benefits.

By gaining a better understanding of TRICARE Reserve Select, you can ensure comprehensive health coverage for you and your family, thus maintaining readiness for both your civilian and military responsibilities.

Comparing Tricare Reserve Select to Other Tricare Plans

Comparing Tricare Reserve Select (TRS) with other Tricare plans highlights the unique positioning of TRS for reservists and their families, emphasizing its advantageous blend of flexibility, affordability, and coverage. As you navigate the various military health benefits, understanding the distinctions between TRS and the broader Tricare offerings becomes crucial.

  • Eligibility and Availability: Unlike TRS, which is exclusive to Selected Reserve members and their families not enrolled in the Federal Employee Health Benefits program, other Tricare plans such as Tricare Prime and Tricare Select cater to active-duty service members, retirees, and their families. This distinct eligibility criterion ensures that TRS meets the specific needs of the Reserve component.
  • Coverage and Benefits: TRS closely mirrors the benefits of Tricare Standard and Extra, providing comprehensive medical care including preventive services, physician visits, hospitalization, and prescriptions. However, plans like Tricare Prime offer more structured healthcare delivery, requiring primary care manager (PCM) assignments and referrals for specialist care, contrasting with the more flexible access to providers under TRS.
  • Cost and Expenses: Affordability is a key advantage of TRS. Its premiums and cost-shares are specifically designed to accommodate the financial realities of reservists. While plans like Tricare Prime feature lower out-of-pocket costs for active-duty families, TRS offers a balanced approach, blending reasonable premiums with accessible care for Reservists and their dependents.
  • Enrollment and Access: Enrolling in TRS is streamlined and reservist-focused, with eligibility extending during open seasons or following qualifying life events. Comparable Tricare programs have their enrollment periods and criteria, yet TRS stands out for its reservist-centered enrollment process.

Understanding these differences ensures you can make informed decisions about your healthcare coverage. Whether you value the structured care of Tricare Prime or the flexible, affordable offerings of TRS, each plan serves distinct roles within the comprehensive Tricare network, catering to diverse needs across the military community.

Enrollment Process

Once you’ve recognized the advantages of TRICARE Reserve Select (TRS) and confirmed your eligibility, enrolling becomes your next critical step. This process ensures you and your family’s access to valuable healthcare services. Here, familiarize yourself with a streamlined approach to secure your enrollment in TRS effectively.

Verify Eligibility

Initiating the enrollment process requires validating your eligibility. Ensure you’re a member of the Selected Reserve and not active in any other TRICARE program. Eligibility confirmation may require visiting the official TRICARE website or contacting your unit’s personnel officer.

Gather Necessary Documents

Preparation is key. Compile required documents including your military identification and any relevant personal identification for your dependents. These documents are crucial for verifying your identity and eligibility during the enrollment process.

Submit an Enrollment Application

With eligibility confirmed and documents at the ready, submit your enrollment application. This can be done online through the Defense Enrollment Eligibility Reporting System (DEERS), by mail, or in person at a TRICARE service center. Opting for online submission provides convenience and faster processing times.

Pay Initial Premium

Enrollment in TRS requires an initial premium payment. This payment can typically be made online or by mail. Ensure you understand the payment amount and deadlines to avoid any delay in your enrollment process.

Confirmation and Plan Activation

Upon successful submission and payment, you’ll receive confirmation of your enrollment. Your TRS coverage does not activate immediately; instead, it becomes effective on the first day of the following month after your payment is processed. Keep this timeline in mind to ensure continuous coverage.

By following these straightforward steps, enrollment in TRICARE Reserve Select can be completed promptly, granting you access to a comprehensive healthcare plan tailored for reservists and their families. This ensures both you and your loved ones are protected under a plan that recognizes the unique needs of Reserve members.

Making the Most of Your Coverage

After enrolling in TRICARE Reserve Select (TRS), leveraging your coverage effectively ensures you and your family access the best healthcare services available. Understanding your benefits and how to use them can maximize the value of your plan.

Understand Your Benefits

Firstly, familiarize yourself with the specifics of your TRS plan. This includes knowing your covered services, such as routine check-ups, emergency services, and prescription drugs. and the TRICARE website offer comprehensive resources that detail these benefits. Recognizing what’s covered helps avoid unexpected expenses.

Choose Providers Wisely

Selecting in-network providers guarantees lower out-of-pocket costs. TRICARE’s online directory helps identify in-network doctors, hospitals, and pharmacies. Opting for these providers ensures your medical services are covered to the fullest extent possible under your plan.

Utilize Preventative Care

Taking advantage of preventative services, which TRS covers in full, is crucial for maintaining health and preventing more serious conditions. Annual physicals, screenings, and vaccinations fall under these services. Preventative care not only keeps you healthy but also reduces overall healthcare spending.

Manage Your Prescriptions

Prescription management is another key component. Using TRICARE’s Pharmacy Program, you can fill prescriptions at military pharmacies, through the mail, or at retail locations. Opting for generic drugs or mail-order delivery often results in further savings.

Stay Informed

Lastly, keeping up to date with any changes to your TRS coverage is essential. TRICARE periodically updates its benefits and policies. Regularly visiting the TRICARE website and subscribing to their newsletters ensures you won’t miss important updates regarding your healthcare coverage.

By thoroughly understanding your benefits, wisely choosing providers, making use of preventative care, managing your prescriptions effectively, and staying informed about any policy changes, you’ll make the most of your TRICARE Reserve Select coverage, ensuring you and your family receive high-quality healthcare at a manageable cost.

Real User Experiences

After learning how to leverage TRICARE Reserve Select (TRS) effectively, hearing from those who’ve navigated its offerings firsthand can provide invaluable insights. Real user experiences with TRS often highlight its tangible impacts on families and individuals within the Selected Reserve community.

  • Navigating Enrollment Challenges: Many mention navigating enrollment as a hurdle initially but find the process worth the effort. One reservist shared how, after dealing with initial paperwork hurdles, the family’s monthly premiums became significantly lower than civilian alternatives, with comprehensive coverage that was hard to match elsewhere.
  • Flexibility in Care: Users regularly commend TRS for its flexibility. For example, a Reserve member needed specialized care that was not available in their immediate area. With TRS, they could access a wider network of specialists without worrying about the financial burden, allowing for timely and effective treatment.
  • Support During Transition: A common thread among testimonials is the peace of mind TRS provides during periods of transition. One user recounted a period when they were between civilian jobs, and TRS became a lifeline, offering stability in health care coverage that was deeply appreciated.
  • Prescription Management Benefits: The ease of managing prescriptions under TRS is another frequently mentioned advantage. Individuals appreciate the convenience and cost savings of being able to fill prescriptions through the TRICARE network, often highlighting the differences in copay amounts compared to other plans.
  • Preventative Care Utilization: Finally, users express satisfaction with the emphasis on preventative care under TRS. Families and individuals note that having access to routine screenings and check-ups without additional costs encourages a proactive approach to health, leading to better overall well-being.

These stories underscore the value of TRICARE Reserve Select from those who use it most, illustrating its role not just as a healthcare option, but as a cornerstone of resilience and health security for the reservist community.


Unlocking the full potential of TRICARE Reserve Select is more than just a smart choice for Selected Reserve members—it’s a pathway to ensuring your health and that of your family is protected without breaking the bank. By engaging with the plan’s features, staying proactive about your health needs, and navigating the system with the insights shared by those who’ve walked this path before you, you’re setting yourself up for success. Remember, it’s not just about having coverage; it’s about making the coverage work for you. With TRICARE Reserve Select, you’ve got a powerful tool at your disposal. Use it wisely, stay informed, and take full advantage of the support and security it offers. Your health and well-being are worth it.



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