What TRICARE Users Should Know about Urgent Care

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This post is sponsored by MedExpress Urgent Care. All opinions and work are my own.

When I was 29, I started not feeling well out of nowhere. It would come out of nowhere–sometimes when I was on the couch, or when I woke up in the morning. Still being a fairly new military wife–I avoided calling TRICARE to make an appointment (I know, I know, I know).

The thing was, I was stressed, tired, not feeling so well, and the clinic was far away in terrible traffic that would most likely take me an hour door-to-door. I wasn’t feeling up for the drive or the stress.

I figured it would sort itself out– it was probably just a little cold. So I waited.

(You know where this is going. Absolutely nothing good can come of this, right?)

Military families, did you know that TRICARE now covers urgent care visits? ad

By Thanksgiving, it had progressed into what I guessed was probably walking pneumonia. I wanted to curl up on the couch all day instead of cook Thanksgiving dinner. But John’s family had traveled six hours to see us… so of course, I didn’t do that. But I did sit on the kitchen floor for a lot of the day, trying to not freak out.

The next day, I called TRICARE for an appointment and it was two more weeks before I was seen by a healthcare provider at the clinic.

I waited longer than I had to

I’ll be the first to admit that I should not have waited to so long to be seen. I really shouldn’t have. But the barriers in place–including the fact that my husband and I share a car and are not a two-car household– made it more difficult for me to easily access healthcare.

TRICARE has added benefits

Here’s the thing, starting this year, when I’m not feeling well, I can be seen quickly and easily at an urgent care. As of January 1, 2018, TRICARE Prime enrollees no longer need a referral for urgent care visits and TRICARE Select (and other TRICARE plan) enrollees can visit a TRICARE-authorized provider for urgent care. (Of course, if you have questions, you should absolutely call TRICARE to verify your benefits.) You can also read more about TRICARE and urgent care at TRICARE’s official website here.

What does that mean? 

It means that you can choose to have more immediate access to health care through urgent care centers if you choose. Because urgent care centers offer walk-ins with no appointment necessary, it means you don’t have to wait for an appointment to be seen.

Let’s talk about urgent care

One such center, MedExpress Urgent Care, is a neighborhood healthcare provider offering walk-in treatment in more than 250 centers in 20 states. To find the center nearest you, just visit and type in your city and state. When you walk into a MedExpress center, you’ll be seen that day, whether it’s for the flu or a cold or something more advanced, like a broken bone that requires an X-ray or treatment for sprains or strains.

MedExpress also offers wellness and prevention services like sports physicals and immunizations, too. And MedExpress centers are located in the heart of many communities –which makes it a lot easier to visit if you’re someone who lives off-base and in a town.

Military families, did you know that TRICARE now covers urgent care visits? ad

Four more things you should know about MedExpress

  1. MedExpress is fully staffed by knowledgeable medical clinicians including providers, techs, assistants, and customer service representatives.
  2. MedExpress is open every day of the year (except Thanksgiving and Christmas Day) from 8 AM to 8 PM. There is no appointment necessary, so you can always just walk in.
  3. Oh, and by the way, on average, MedExpress patients are usually in and out in under an hour. (Yes!)
  4. If you need more care, MedExpress centers work the same as a traditional doctor’s office– they can refer you to specialists, other doctors, and hospitals.

Want more information? Check out MedExpress’ website here.

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