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*  Medal for military personnel who served in the Korean theater after July 27, 1954 and a date to be set in the future. 
*  Authorization for the Secretary of Defense to pay a flat-rate daily stipend (in lieu of payments for transportation and miscellaneous expenses) for military retirees and certain others participating in funeral honors details.
* Authorization of use of commissaries by National Guard members who are called to duty in state status in support of federally declared national emergencies.
*  A requirement for a review of quality-of-life issues for members of the Armed Forces every four years.
*  Reduction in the number of continuous years of Reserve component service required immediately before qualifying for a Reserve retirement from eight to six.
*  A program of education and other incentives to encourage national service, entailing at least 15 months on active duty after initial training, an additional period on active duty or in the Selected Reserve, with remaining obligated service in the Reserves, Peace Corps, Americorps, or some other national service program.
* Elimination of prior authorization for TFL beneficiaries needing inpatient mental health services.
* Allowing family members to retain the TRICARE Prime remote benefit when not authorized to accompany the member to the next permanent duty station - only if the family remains at the former duty site. 
* Authorization of TRICARE Prime remote benefits to reservists activated for more than 30 days who reside in TRICARE Prime remote locations.
* Automatic designation of Medicare providers as TRICARE providers, effective under the new TRICARE contracts in 2004.
*  Prohibition of DoD from denying health care benefits to Prime enrollees who receive service connected care through the VA, if the VA cannot meet DoD's access standards.
* Requirement for DoD to adopt Medicare claims processing procedures except for those unique to TRICARE requirements.
* Further direction to facilitate VA/DoD sharing agreements and authorization for three pilot sites to test collaboration initiatives.

TRICARE Handbook
Excerpt from RAO Bulletin Update dated 11/10/02

The September 2002 TRICARE Handbook, is available for distribution to beneficiaries and providers worldwide. The new handbook highlights all three TRICARE options Prime, Standard and Extra and the many health care programs and benefits added since the 1997 red, white and blue edition. New topics and benefits covered include TRICARE For Life, TRICARE Prime Remote for Active Duty Family Members, TRICARE Plus, Travel Reimbursement, Chiropractic Care, TRICARE Senior Pharmacy Program, TRICARE Dental Program, Debt Collection Assistance Officer Program, Beneficiary Counseling and Assistance Coordinator Program, and more. 

The handbook has a fresh new design and color. The cover is white with a vignette representing uniformed services families, ranks and memorabilia on the front and helpful telephone numbers and addresses on the back. Included inside are improved charts and graphs for cost comparisons, tips and helpful reminders for beneficiaries to consider before seeking care from authorized civilian providers. 

The new handbook is being shipped to TRICARE service centers and military treatment facilities in every TRICARE region and is available to sponsors and their family members upon request. The online version at www.
tricare.osd.mil/TricareHandbook/ is in PDF format [i.e., Adobe Acrobat Reader software is required to view/print the handbook. A free copy of the Adobe Acrobat Reader software can be downloaded from the Adobe web site at http://www.adobe.com/products/acrobat/readstep.html]. 

Sponsors and family members with TRICARE questions or in need of assistance are still encouraged to contact their local beneficiary counseling and assistance coordinator, health benefits adviser, or TRICARE service center representative.   A list of local and regional toll-free TRICARE telephone numbers is available in the handbook and on the TRICARE Web site at http://www.tricare.

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