TRICARE for Children: Between Medicaid and Marketplace Plans for Comprehensiveness and Cost Sharing

Publisher: Health Affairs, vol. 38, no. 8
Aug 05, 2019
Authors
Joseph S. Zickafoose, Amanda Lechner, and Thomas Williams

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.