TRICARE For Children: Between Medicaid And Marketplace Plans For Comprehensiveness And Cost Sharing

Health Aff (Millwood). 2019 Aug;38(8):1366-1376. doi: 10.1377/hlthaff.2019.00279.


TRICARE provides health care benefits to nearly two million children of active duty, retired, National Guard, and reserve service members. Child health advocates and congressional reports have raised questions regarding the adequacy of these benefits, compared with other sources of children's health insurance. To help address these questions, we compared TRICARE benefits with benefits from Medicaid and Marketplace plans because they represent alternative sources of coverage for many of the families enrolled in TRICARE. Overall, we found that TRICARE benefits fell in the middle-between Medicaid plans' more comprehensive benefits with no cost sharing and Marketplace plans' more restrictive benefits with higher cost sharing.

Keywords: Child Health; TRICARE; health benefits.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Ambulatory Care / economics
  • Ambulatory Care / organization & administration
  • Child
  • Cost Sharing* / economics
  • Emergency Medical Services / economics
  • Emergency Medical Services / organization & administration
  • Humans
  • Insurance Benefits / economics
  • Insurance, Health / economics
  • Insurance, Health / organization & administration
  • Medicaid / economics*
  • Medicaid / organization & administration
  • Military Health Services* / economics
  • Preventive Medicine / economics
  • Preventive Medicine / organization & administration
  • Prior Authorization / economics
  • Prior Authorization / organization & administration
  • United States