Does TRICARE Cover My Travel Vaccine?

Does TRICARE Cover My Travel Vaccine?
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As people put the finishing touches on their summer travel plans, they may discover they need vaccinations or immunizations before heading to certain destinations. It’s helpful to understand how TRICARE covers this type of service so you can minimize out-of-pocket expenses, or at least not be blindsided by them.


Do I Need a Vaccine to Travel?

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) maintains an international travel website where you can find Travel Health Notices for each country that list outbreaks or sporadic cases of a variety of diseases, disasters that impact the healthcare infrastructure, and mass gathering events that might lead to disease outbreaks.


You can also search on the State Department’s website to see if there is a travel advisory for a country you plan on visiting. The site will display the travel advisory level and will also list vaccination requirements for that country.


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Doesn’t My TRICARE Pharmacy Benefit Cover ALL Vaccines?

TRICARE (including TRICARE Prime, TRICARE Select, and TRICARE For Life) covers age-appropriate doses of vaccines based on the CDC’s recommendations. If you follow your plan’s rules for obtaining a vaccination, and it is listed as a covered vaccine, then you should be able to get it at no cost.


However, vaccines needed for travel outside the U.S. – a yellow fever vaccination, for example – are not covered; you must pay out of pocket, even if you obtain the shot from a network provider or pharmacy.


The only exception is for active-duty family members who are traveling with their sponsor on permanent change-of-duty orders or other official travel.


[RELATED: How TRICARE Covers Vaccines]


Where Can I Get My Travel Vaccines?

Active duty family members required to get vaccinated for travel can find their closest military hospital or clinic and inquire about getting the vaccines there.


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For those not on orders, the CDC website has a directory of clinics where you can get vaccines and travel medications. Many local health departments provide travel advice, vaccines, and medications, although there is typically a fee involved.



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About the Author

Lila Quintiliani, ChFC®, AFC®
Lila Quintiliani, ChFC®, AFC®

Quintiliani is MOAA's Program Director, Financial and Benefits Education/Counseling. She is a former Army Military Intelligence Officer as well as the spouse of an active-duty servicemember, and worked for over a decade at military installations as a personal financial counselor.