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Traveling the extra mile for TRICARE beneficiaries

It's the bittersweet moment every military family is proud of, yet dreads at the same time. It's the teary words of good-bye versus the pride of serving one's country -- deployment.

It's the bittersweet moment every military family is proud of, yet dreads at the same time. It's the teary words of good-bye versus the pride of serving one's country -- deployment.

In such a moment, service members want to know their loved ones will be taken care of during their absence. They want to know if their child gets sick, or their spouse suffers a medical emergency, someone will be nearby to help.

That's why TriWest Healthcare Alliance beneficiary service education representatives travel around its 21-state west region to conduct educational briefings. These briefings are here for one main reason: to inform active duty service members, retirees, and National Guard or Reserve members and their families about their TRICARE health benefits.

Various types of briefings target different groups. For example, TriWest BSERs speak to service members about pre-deployment, point of service, deductibles, authorizations and retiree benefits, just to name a few. The briefings include tips on helping beneficiaries save money by avoiding out-of-pocket costs.

Best of all, TriWest BSERs make sure to do "Whatever It Takes" to relax fears or concerns during a military family's most emotional time.

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"I enjoy helping people. I get such an accomplished feeling when a beneficiary's eyes light up when they understand their benefits, or when a surviving spouse spontaneously hugs me in relief, or a very ill retiree cries because I took the time to sit and explain their claim," said TriWest BSER Margaret Franklin.

Recently, TriWest passed a huge milestone, briefing 1 million beneficiaries since its current contract began in June 2004.

TriWest representatives traveled throughout TRICARE's 2.3 million square mile west region, conducting tens of thousands of briefings informing service members of their TRICARE health benefits. Beneficiaries learned about everything from general benefits and claims to dental and pharmacy coverage. In addition, the National Guard and Reserve briefing videos on www.triwest.com have been viewed 4,510 times since May 2007.

Even though these numbers may be a landmark for TriWest, they represent something much more vital: 1 million beneficiaries left those briefings having a better grasp on what they and their families are entitled to through TRICARE.

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