Tricare falling short on mental health parity, report finds

Tricare, which provides health coverage for military personnel, dependents and retirees, may be falling short on some of its behavioral health goals, a report from the Government Accountability Office found. 

The report, published Dec. 20, assessed how the program was progressing toward complying with a 2016 rule from the Defense Health Agency requiring it to make coverage of behavioral health services equivalent with medical and physical care. 

The report identified at least two areas where the program may be falling short on mental health parity: 

  • Tricare beneficiaries must receive prior authorization for inpatient behavioral services, but not for inpatient physical health treatment. 
  • Residential treatment for behavioral health disorders is limited to individuals under 21. 

The Government Accountability Office recommended the Defense Health Agency periodically review Tricare's behavioral health coverage and identify areas where changes should be made. 

Read the full report here. 

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