Health & Safety

August 7, 2015

TRICARE Online and MiCare have similarities, differences

Air Force Surgeon General Public Affairs

WASHINGTON (AFNS) — TRICARE Online and MiCare Secure Messaging may seem to offer the same services, but there are important differences to these software tools, which are designed to enhance access to care for all military beneficiaries.

“Both programs are endorsed by the Military Heath System, and although they may seem very similar, in actuality there are a few differences,” said Col. Gwendolyn Johnson, the chief of Air Force secure messaging at the Air Force Medical Operations Agency. “While they do have some features in common, it is up to our beneficiaries to decide which tool they desire to use.”

In both TRICARE Online and MiCare, beneficiaries can validate medication lists and obtain test results, including labs. Both systems can facilitate appointments. With TRICARE Online, beneficiaries can schedule available appointments themselves, whereas with MiCare, beneficiaries can request appointments via secure messaging. Once the appointment request is made, clinic staff will schedule an appointment with the provider as soon as possible.

Another great feature with TRICARE Online is that it allows patients to track their claims and deductibles, and to obtain proof of medical insurance. This is because TRICARE is for medical insurance coverage and addresses issues and tasks related to activities that involve healthcare insurance, explained Johnson.

In comparison, MiCare is focused on secure messaging communication between patients and their healthcare teams.

“Using secure messaging promotes better access to care for patients who need clinical advice or assistance from their healthcare teams,” Johnson said. “This is one of the reasons MiCare is considered a valued service across the military health system. Not only does MiCare ease communication between patients and clinical staff, it also allows patients to access robust patient education materials regarding their medical conditions or illnesses.”

An additional unique feature of MiCare is the “Health Record” or “Personal Health Record.” This tool can be used to collect, track and share past and current information of the beneficiary’s health. For example, when referred to new off-base medical providers for care, the personal health record is a source of health information which can prevent providers from repeating routine medical tests that have already been done and documented in the personal health record. This feature enables off-base medical providers to have more insight into the personal health story of their patients.

“It may initially seem confusing that there (are) both TRICARE Online and MiCare, but each tool has its potential benefits for those patients who desire to use them,” Johnson said. “Even though beneficiaries may use either tool to schedule an appointment or review their lab results, only MiCare can be used for secure communication to the healthcare team.”

For more information on TRICARE Online and MiCare Secure Messaging, contact a local military treatment facility.

All of this week's top headlines to your email every Friday.


Air Force photograph by Airman Frankie D. Moore

355th MDOS hosts first annual Suicide Prevention Week

Air Force photograph by Airman Frankie D. Moore Capt. Teresa Thompson, 355th Medical Operations Squadron Alcohol and Drug Abuse Prevention and Treatment program manager, talks to an individual about mental awareness during the ...

Boeing, Cathay Pacific to donate world’s 1st 777 to Aviation Museum

Boeing and Cathay Pacific announced today that they are donating the first-ever Boeing 777 airplane to the Pima Air & Space Museum in Arizona, one of the world’s largest facilities devoted to celebrating aerospace. The iconic airplane (line number WA001 and registered B-HNL) flew from Cathay Pacific’s home airport in Hong Kong to Tucson, Arizona...
Air National Guard photograph by Staff Sgt. George Keck

Arizona Air National Guard’s first deployment in 31 years

Air National Guard photograph by Staff Sgt. George Keck Staff Sgt. Luke Arandules, a 195th Aircraft Maintenance Unit crew chief, Arizona Air National Guard, performs a final inspection for debris around the intake of an F-16 Fi...