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Beat the Back-to-School Rush: TRICARE Preventive Health Checks for Kids

Image of Beat the Back-to-School Rush: TRICARE Preventive Health Checks for Kids. Whether your child needs a school physical or you want to check on their development, TRICARE covers many preventive health services at no cost to your family.

FALLS CHURCH, Va. – Summer is a great time to take care of health checkups for your kids. Your child’s school likely requires students to get an annual health exam and be up to date on vaccines. With a new school year around the corner, don’t delay medical appointments for your kids.

“Most schools have mandatory health standards children must meet each school year,” said Jeannine Pickrell, RN, nurse consultant for Disease Management & Population Health at the Defense Health Agency. “It helps to get required back-to-school health checks before the last minute. Summer vacation is also a perfect time to get other health care services for your kids, like dental and eye exams.”

Whether your child needs a school physical or you want to check on their development, TRICARE covers many preventive health services at no cost to your family. Below is important information about back-to-school checkups for your kids.

Follow school health care requirements

Check with your child’s school for their health policy. Depending on these requirements, you may need to schedule more than one office visit for your child.

For the youngest children, TRICARE covers well-child exams from birth until age 6. Starting at age 6, TRICARE covers physicals required for school enrollment. TRICARE doesn’t cover annual sports physicals, which are separate from school physicals.

Even if your child’s school doesn’t require a physical, kids can still get preventive checkups. Annual Health Promotion and Disease Prevention (HP&DP) exams are available to any TRICARE enrollee over age 6.

TRICARE also covers routine immunizations, also known as vaccinations. Your provider will review your child’s immunization records to confirm your child is up to date and meets school requirements. You can get covered vaccines from any TRICARE-authorized provider at no cost. However, you may have to pay copayments or cost-shares for other services received during the same office visit. You can also get some covered vaccines at no cost at TRICARE retail network pharmacies. At retail network pharmacies, make sure a pharmacist gives the vaccines to avoid potential out-of-pocket costs.

Get additional wellness checkups

There’s more to your child’s wellness than a routine physical can detect. Use this extra time to check all aspects of their health.

For example, you can schedule an appointment with your child’s dentist. Your TRICARE health plan doesn’t include dental coverage. However, active duty family members and National Guard and Reserve family members can purchase dental coverage through the TRICARE Dental Program (TDP). TDP covers two routine dental cleanings in a consecutive 12-month period for children ages 1 and older, as described in the TRICARE Dental Program Handbook. You can enroll in TDP at any time.

Your child may also be able to get a routine eye exam. This depends on their beneficiary status, health plan, and age. Children of active duty service members can get annual eye exams. Children of retired service members with TRICARE Prime can get routine eye exams every two years.

Some children are also eligible for dental or vision coverage through the Federal Employees Dental and Vision Insurance Program (FEDVIP). If your child has FEDVIP coverage, be sure to follow the rules of that plan.

Find a provider

Do you need to find a new doctor or dentist for your kids? TRICARE’s Find a Doctor tool can help you find nearby providers. If you have TDP, you can use the Find a Dentist tool to search for local TDP network dentists.

When you visit the provider, make sure to mention any concerns about your children’s health. By taking time this summer to focus on your children’s health, you can help them get off to a good start this school year.

Would you like the latest TRICARE news sent to you by email? Visit TRICARE Subscriptions, and create your personalized profile to get benefit updates, news, and more.

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Last Updated: July 28, 2023
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