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Highlights

The Department of Defense (DOD) provides health care through its TRICARE program, which is managed by the TRICARE Management Activity (TMA). TRICARE offers three basic options. Beneficiaries who choose TRICARE Prime, an option that uses civilian provider networks, must enroll. TRICARE beneficiaries who do not enroll in this option may obtain care from nonnetwork providers under TRICARE Standard or from network providers under TRICARE Extra. The National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2008 directed GAO to evaluate various aspects of beneficiaries' access to care under the TRICARE Standard and Extra options. This report examines (1) impediments to TRICARE Standard and Extra beneficiaries' access to civilian health care and mental health care providers and TMA's actions to address the impediments; (2) TMA's efforts to monitor access to civilian providers for TRICARE Standard and Extra beneficiaries; (3) how TMA informs network and nonnetwork civilian providers about TRICARE Standard and Extra; and (4) how TMA informs TRICARE Standard and Extra beneficiaries about their options. To address these objectives, GAO reviewed and analyzed TMA and TRICARE contractor data and documents. GAO also interviewed TMA officials, including those in its regional offices, as well as its contractors.

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