Medical Benefits for US Veterans Overseas
Medical Benefits for US Veterans Overseas


Hospital Brisas is NOT a VA Hospital.  Hospital Brisas is a PRIVATE hospital.


– Hospital Brisas in Panama City, Republic of Panama, accepts VA-FMP, CHAMPVA, TRICARE Select and TRICARE for Life.


– IMPORTANT for dependents: When visiting Hospital Brisas in Panama City for medical services using TRICARE Select or TRICARE for Life, ensure you bring a fotocopy of your sponsors ID card and you must know his/her SSN.  If you do not bring this information, the hospital staff cannot verify your eligibility for medical services and you will have to pay cash-up-front.


IMPORTANT:  TRICARE Prime does not provide coverage overseas if you are a retiree. Ensure you contact TRICARE before relocating to Panama and change your TRICARE Prime to TRICARE Select. This also applies for any family members relocating with you.


– CRITICAL!!!: Effective January 2021, all TRICARE Select beneficiaries (that are NOT Tricare for Life), must have set up monthly premium allotment for family or individual. If you do not set up your monthly allotment with Tricare you and/or your family will not have Tricare medical coverage. CALL TRICARE at 800-444-5445 to set up your allotment. 


NOTE:  If you DO NOT HAVE TRICARE Select  or TRICARE for Life and you ONLY have VA-FMP and your family does not have CHAMPVA, Hospital Brisas accepts BLUE CROSS - BLUE SHIELD International (BCBS-I).  BEFORE moving to Panama, inquire about BCBS-I health insurance. Ensure you ask the BCBS-I insurance company if they cover you, and your family, overseas, specifically in Panama.


Appointments or assistance for veterans, their dependent family members and survivors. VA-FMP, CHAMPVA or TRICARE. Please contact Ashnabell (6799-4961) or Aracelis (6678-9370), Veterans Service Office. Email: [email protected]


Retired and non-retired veterans overseas, with a VA awarded disability of 0% to 100%, are covered under the VA Foreign Medical Program (FMP).  The veteran must register with VA-FMP.

If you do not have a VA ID, visit a VA hospital or clinic whenever you travel back to the US with a copy of your DD214 to request a VA-ID .  NOTE: The VA ID is not required for medical services overseas. Overseas, to receive medical services for VA awarded service-connected disabilities, all you need is your VA-FMP benefit letter listing your awarded disabilities.

NOTE: If you DO NOT have service-connected VA awarded disabilities, you DO NOT have VA-FMP medical coverage overseas. For this reason, you should visit your nearest Veterans Service Officer (VSO) for guidance and assistance if you believe you have service-connected disabilities to claim.

Spouses, dependent children, widows and widowers of non-retired veterans, that have been declared to be 100% total and permanently (T&P) disabled by VA, are also eligible for medical services and medications under the Civilian Health and Medical Program of the Department of Veterans Affairs (CHAMPVA).

To continue to receive CHAMPVA benefits after age 65, your spouse or surviving spouse must meet the following conditions:

* Turned 65 on or after 5 June 2001, your spouse or surviving spouse must be enrolled in Medicare Part A and Part B to remain eligible for CHAMPVA.

* If your spouse or surviving spouse turned 65 before 5 June 2001, and has Medicare Part A and Part B, they must keep Medicare Part A and Part B to be eligible for CHAMPVA.

* If your spouse or surviving spouse turned 65 or older before 5 June 2001, were eligible for CHAMPVA and do not have Medicare Part B coverage, then they may be eligible for CHAMPVA without having to have Medicare Part B coverage.

The 100% T&P non-retired veteran and his dependents are also authorized DOD ID Cards for entry into military installations. They will have access to commissaries, PX/BX and MWR. 

Dependents of retired and non-retired 100% T&P veterans are entitled to Chapter 35, Dependents Educational Assistance (DEA), to be used towards a degree in VA certified colleges and universities.

TRICARE Select, TRICARE for Life and CHAMPVA beneficiaries are responsible for the 25% co-pay for medical services and medications.

– TRICARE Select, TRICARE for Life (TFL) and CHAMPVA can be used for medical services and medications.  The  25% co-pay is required. 


 – The VA Foreign Medical Program (FMP) can be used for VA awarded disabilities from 0% to 100%. VA awarded disabilities are covered overseas if listed on the VA-FMP letter.


– Non-service connected disabilities, not listed on the VA-FMP benefit letter, are not covered by VA-FMP overseas. There may be exceptions. The veteran must request approval by VA-FMP prior to receiving medical care for non-service connected disabilities. Once the veteran has the VA-FMP approval letter for treatment of non-service connected disabilities overseas, please contact Hospital Brisas' veteran services at the phone number provided at the beginning of this page. The veteran must provide copy of the VA-FMP approval letter so the hospital can place a verification call to VA-FMP.


– Always remember, while overseas veterans will receive medical care and medications for VA awarded disabilities listed on the VA-FMP benefit letter. The VA ID is not required to receive medical services overseas. The VA-FMP benefit letter and an additional identification is required for verification of eligibility.


– In the United States, all veterans are entitled to medical care at any VA hospital, service-connected or not. Co-payments may apply.


Create your online account to view your VA disability list, compensation payments, apply for VA compensation, request copies of your DD-214, military personnel and medical files and other services.


TRICARE Prime (TP) does not provide coverage overseas. Ensure you are enrolled in TRICARE Select Overseas (TSO). Call the TRICARE customer service 215-942-8393 or 877-451-8659. You must disenroll from TRICARE Prime to be placed on TSO.


Create your online TRICARE overseas account so you can manage and view your Explanation of Benefits (EOBs). If necessary, reimbursement claims can be uploaded directly to the TRICARE claims department. You have 3 years to submit a claim from overseas. Claims can be submitted online once you create a TRICARE account at:


If you are receiving retired military pay, and do not have an online DFAS MyPay account, go to and create your account. At this site you can manage changes to your account, download the 1099-R and 1095-B for tax time, designate beneficiaries for Arrears of Pay (AOP), Survivor Benefit Plan (SBP) and other options.


If you have questions or require assistance, contact one of the VSOs. Click on “VSO” on the Main Menu for details.



MEDICARE Part-B does NOT provide coverage overseas.

VERY IMPORTANT !–>  Retirees/widows/widowers: You CANNOT cancel MEDICARE Part-B at any time or you will drop out of TRICARE for Life or CHAMPVA and not be insured.


For retired veterans and their spouses, ensure you sign up for MEDICARE Part-B six to three months prior to your 65th birthday. You will drop out of TRICARE and not be medically insured if you do not have MEDICARE Part-B at age 65.  Manage this most important life event very carefully and don't miss it.  Permanent penalties apply if you register in MEDICARE Part-B after age 65. 

Medicare Part-B is Mandatory by Law to continue TRICARE coverage, even if it does not provide coverage outside of the US.

To keep TRICARE coverage, when military retirees and their spouses turn age 65, they must enroll in Medicare Part-B and pay the standard Part-B monthly premium.

Even though Medicare does not provide coverage outside of the US, Public Law 106-398, October 30, 2000, mandates Medicare Part-B enrollment if you wish to remain eligible for TRICARE for Life (TFL) at age 65 and beyond.

Apply for Medicare Part-B six to three months before your 65th birthday to avoid a break in TRICARE for Life coverage.

By taking a few simple steps, you can make sure you have your TRICARE benefits at age 65 and beyond.

Four months before your 65th birthday, you should receive a postcard from the Defense Manpower Data Center (DMDC), the office that supports the Defense Enrollment Eligibility Reporting System (DEERS), with information about keeping TRICARE coverage at age 65 and beyond.

If you do not receive a postcard from DMDC, call them at (800) 538-9552.

You must have Medicare Part A and Medicare Part B to be eligible for TRICARE For Life, even if you live overseas and it does not provide coverage.

TRICARE For Life is the Medicare wrap-around coverage for TRICARE beneficiaries who are entitled to Medicare Part A and have Medicare Part B regardless of where you live.

The Medicare initial enrollment period is seven months. If you miss your initial enrollment period, your next chance to sign up for Medicare Part B is during the general enrollment period, Jan. 1 – March 31. Your coverage will begin July 1st, and your monthly premium for Part B may go up 10 percent for each 12-month period that you could have had Part B, but didn’t sign up for it. Also, there will be a lapse in your TRICARE coverage until Part B is effective.

Overseas, your nearest US Embassy Federal Benefits Unit (FBU) can also assist with Medicare Part-B enrollment. Oftentimes when you tell the Embassy officer that you are retired military, or the spouse/survivor of a retired military service member, the embassy officer may say that you do not need Medicare Part-B overseas, they are INCORRECT. US Embassies overseas make this mistake and the beneficiary will be penalized by the SSA for enrolling late in Medicare Part-B to maintain TRICARE for Life.

** Another way to enroll:

- If you are a military retiree, age 65, and already receiving SS retirement benefits, please enroll by completing Form CMS-40B.

- If you are a retiree, age 65, and have not applied for SS retirement benefits yet, please enroll in Medicare Part-B by completing Form CMS-40B or online at

- If you are a spouse or survivor of a retiree, aged 65, please enroll in Medicare Part-B by completing Form CMS-40B

- You can also apply for Medicare Part-B using your online SS account

Important: when applying for Medicare Part-B and have not applied for SS retirement benefits yet, the Social Security Administration (SSA) will contact you for further information. Provide a valid phone number, and area code, where you can be contacted.

REMEMBER: If you are enrolling in Medicare Part-B to keep your TRICARE for Life benefits, you must answer “YES” when the Social Security representative asks if you want to enroll in Medicare Part-B.

**For survivors (widow/widower), on Form CMS-40B, include the following in “Remarks”:

1) Your Deceased spouse’s Name and Social Security Number (SSN) if you do not have your own SSN

2) The word “TRICARE”

3) Indicate if you are receiving benefits from the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). Write “VA Survivors Pension”

4) Write “Interpreter” and the language you require, if you need translation assistance for the follow-up telephone interview 

Veterans Service Officers (VSOs) are available to provide guidance and assistance. Click “VSO” on the main menu for details.