Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Using TRICARE in Galveston

Yesterday Pam and I went to a doctor her in Galveston.  She has been having some blood pressure issues so we decided to find a doctor and see what's up.

Becaue I retired from the military, we are members of the military medical health care system - TRICARE.  TRICARE is grouped into three regions across the country:  East, South, West.   Galveston is in the South Region and our home of record (Sioux Falls SD) is in the West Region.   It also has two plans:  Standard and Prime.

The way TRICARE Standard (vs TRICARE Prime) works, is that we look up the region we are in - TRICARE South - and choose a doctor from the list.  With TRICARE you pay a yearly fee to be enrolled.  We also have a deductible threshold with TRICARE Standard of $300/yr and a medical payment threshold of $3000/year.  In the event we have a number of doctor visits or are hospitalized, those costs are the most we could have to pay except for the co-pays.

We found a doctor and scheduled an appointment in Internal Medicine at the University of Texas Medical Branch (UTMB) here in Galveston.
They had to verify our insurance and call our home office in the TRICARE West region.  Sioux Falls SD, our home of record, is in the West Region.  Sure enough we are on the rolls.  UTMB made sure they had the right information with TRICARE West to arrange for billing.  

Pam liked the doctor who seemed to be attentive and very interested in her history.  We copied off some medical records and other information from her doctor in Virginia that Pam will take to her doctor here.  She wanted to confirm some things and may prescribe some additional items.

AFter the visist, we stopped by Wal-Mart with the prescription and picked it up later in the afternoon for $10.  So far so good and we'll see how it all works out.

Other RV full-timers have other doctor arrangements but that is ours.  How to find a doctor was one of the big mysteries we contemplated before we got on the road.  A year before we left Fairfax, we switched our coverage from TRICARE Prime to TRICARE Standard just to check out the process and see if we liked it.

 With TRICARE Prime, you choose a medical treatment center.  In our case, it was Bethesda Military Medical Hospital when we lived in Virginia.  We were assigned a primary care doctor there and we could call and schedule an appointment when we needed to.

One of our fellow NOMADS, Paula, is a nurse and lent us her blood pressure cuff and we will be monitoring things the next few days  morning and evening until we get one of our own.
Meanwhile, my back is slowly getting better.  We made it to the work site but there isn't a whole lot to do at the moment.  It is still very stiff and I don't want to aggravate it.  Midway through the afternoon, I decided more could be gained for me by getting a heating pad on my back so we left early.

On the job site, we are finishing up some small sheet rock jobs while we wait to get the electrical wiring in the house inspected.  We notified the inspector we were ready and are waiting until he comes by.  Hopefully that will be done today.  We could use a sheet rock lift for the ceiling pieces, so Norm built one.   That will speed things up for us once we get rolling on it.

The requirement from the inspector is to leave the entire ceiling alone and one side of each wall so he can see where all the wiring is.  After Hurricane Ike, so much damage was done to the house that the entire wiring had to be redone.

The plumbing also has to be redone and it is being contracted out.  We watched some of the results of their work yesterday.  It is very common in Galveston to have plumbing and water pipes showing on the outside of the house.
Kelly went back to Dallas about mid-morning and Adam called in the early evening.  The weather has gotten significantly better and it was another beautiful day in Galveston.
Thanks for viewing today.  And thanks for taking the time and effort to leave a comment.  We appreciate  that too on the Roadrunner Chronicles...


  1. 3:40am? Is that typical posting time? Glad you linked up with a doctor to check out the BP. Not something to ignore. You guys did a great job of planning your travel needs. Randy, you might just try cold instead of/in addition to heat for your back. If you mix half water and half rubbing alcohol in a zip lock freezer bag (and maybe double bag it) you'll have a re-usable cold pack that stays cold a long time. We appreciate your blog.

  2. Thanks for the post on TriCare. We haven't used ours yet, but just switched to Standard. Hopefully we'll have the same response as you did when we need it. Becareful of the back, hope it gets better fast.

  3. Hope Pam's BP gets back to normal very soon. I agree, that is something to take care of, as you all are doing. Take care of your back - Mike struggled with that for almost a year and almost had to have surgery. No fun. So go easy with it.

    Hope your week goes well and know you all are looking forward to your trip Friday.

    Mike and Gerri (http://freedom2roll.blogspot.com)

  4. Thanks for the information about TriCare premium and standard policies. I've heard others talk about them, but never knew what differences there were. Good idea to keep on top of Pam's blood-pressure issue because there are lots of great medications around to deal effectively with that type of problem.

  5. SOunds like things are rocking along. Hope all of your maladies clear up soon.

    Love yun's

    Terry and Joanne

  6. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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