Families With TRICARE Report Lower Health Care Quality and Access Compared to Other Insured and Uninsured Families
Children in military families, who receive health insurance through the TRICARE program, face barriers to care such as frequent relocations, unique behavioral health needs, increased complex health care needs, and lack of accessible specialty care. How TRICARE-insured families perceive health care access and quality for their children compared to their civilian peers’ perceptions remains unknown. Using data from the Medical Expenditure Panel Survey, we found that TRICARE-insured families were less likely to report accessible or responsive care compared to civilian peers, whether commercially or publicly insured or uninsured. Military families whose children had complex health or behavioral health care needs reported worse health care access and quality than similar nonmilitary families. Addressing these gaps may require military leaders to examine barriers to achieving acceptable health care access across military treatment facilities and off-base nonmilitary specialty providers, particularly for children with complex health or behavioral health needs.