'Dear Tricare:' A Sordid Love Letter

dear tricare
Nurse care coordinators brief the medical commander about virtual health care projects at Fort Sam Houston, Texas. (U.S. Army/Jason W. Edwards)

Updated: 12/14/2020

Dear Tricare,

Hello, it's me. I was wondering if after all these years you'd like to meet to go over everything?

Oh, Tricare, my feelings for you are so conflicted. (Hello -- can you hear me?)

We have our highs.

We have our lows.

Many times I've threatened to walk away -- sworn we were done! -- yet, here we are.

I can’t deny that you’ve let me down at time, like a few months ago, when your nurse advice line advised urgent care, and sent me to a nearby urgent care clinic that was closed. Finally, after hours of driving around a child who shook with fever and begged me to help him, you did find us a doctor. But, you lost our urgent care approval paperwork and this ill-fated visit was sent to a collections agency. I’ve spent so many frustrated hours on the phone with you, trying to talk through our problems.

Sometimes I can't tell if you care anymore. Your promises: tease, or truth?

Everybody makes mistakes. However, I need to be able to depend on you without having to keep every base covered all the time to catch the things you let slip; I can't hold your hand every step of the way. Sometimes our relationship seems so tired, worn out and finished. What am I still doing with you?

When I start to walk away, I can't help but remember the amazing times we've had together, times I would have fallen, but you caught me. An unexpected surgery had me worried -- would you be there for me, or would I be selling my house to pay for my child’s medical care?

No, you were right there to be my knight in shining armor! You guided us through our specialist visits, pre-op, post-op, surgery, follow-up care and finally the all-clear. Your movements were perfectly choreographed, with thoughtful phone calls to check in on how we were doing. Where had you been all my life? You swept me off my feet. I never even saw a bill at that time, just records of the magic you were working behind the scenes.

For a while, I thought memories of the good times could take us the distance. Every time I would feel my frustration at lost paperwork or unnecessary hoops to jump through, I would think back. Now, I'm not so sure. Are you still there for me? Will you stand by me? Can I lean on you when I'm unable to stand alone? I don't know anymore.

"Oh, it’s nothing personal," I can almost hear you say. "You know how it is. Bureaucracy. Modern times. Benefits aren't what they used to be. Nothing is!"

But I'm talking about us. And, often I fear your excuses whitewash the truth: If you do a crappy job, so what? Why should you care? Even in these modern times, sometimes I feel like I don't have any good, clear alternatives.

And, yet, I know I should be thankful for the messy relationship we have, because the grass isn’t always greener, am I right? I hear the other insurance companies snore.

A friend and I sat whispering about you recently. Her relationship with her insurance company is new, and expensive. Maybe I've been less than satisfied with you at times, but I didn't realize you were saving me hundreds of dollars each month compared to where I'd be under the Affordable Care Act. I didn't mean to take you for granted, and I'm sorry.

But doesn't it bother you, what we've become? Strained, frustrated, distant? Nobody's perfect, and I don't expect you to be. But, sometimes it seems like your bad qualities outweigh the good ones. Please, oh please -- can't we get back to how we used to be?


A military spouse.

Keep Up with the Ins and Outs of Military Life 

For the latest military news and tips on military family benefits and more, subscribe to Military.com and have the information you need delivered directly to your inbox.

Show Full Article

Military Spouse Videos

View more