Friday, June 5, 2009

Induction into the Club

This past week, I had my first adventure as a true military wife - I attempted to navigate Tricare, the notorious health care system for military members, their families (heretofore known as "dependents") and veterans. NavyGuy got the paperwork done quickly to officially inform the Navy that I was joining the club and expected all of the benefits. Until you are a spouse, you are nothing to the Navy; girlfriends and fiances are trivial hangers-on who may or may not be around for the next tour, so until you can produce a valid marriage license, the Navy has no interest in you.But now that I'm Mrs. NavyGuy, life gets a lot better. For instance, I am now the proud owner of a military ID - it doesn't get me out of parking tickets, but I can now get on base with significantly less hassle (and because my hubby is an officer, the guard at the gate who checks my ID as I drive in now salutes me!). As a legal dependent, I can now be included in NavyGuy's important paperwork, and most financially important, the Navy (via the wonderful taxpayers) are now paying for my health care. All of it. Despite all of the sacrifices and struggles of military life, ask anyone who's part of it to name one thing they're grateful for, and I'll bet 90% cite the amazing medical benefits.

I availed myself of them this week, and I will now be touting the good name of Tricare.* I called on Wednesday morning for a general appointment to meet my new doc, get some prescriptions refilled, and have my annual lady-business-scraping. My doc had several openings that day, so I was in her office by 11. The nurse actually met me at the door once I had checked in, so she saved me the hassle of filling out the paperwork the receptionist sent with me. (My appointments will usually take place at the Oak Harbor Naval Hospital on base, unless I'm referred to a civilian doctor.) The nurse was hilarious, and the doc checked me out lickety split, refilled all my drugs for several months, and I was waiting at the pharmacy counter in less than half an hour. Doctor Wonderful even got me a referral to an eye doctor in Anacortes to deal with my eye bump (yes, it's still there... don't worry - it will be dealt with next week Thursday).

The pharmacy was pretty busy, so the only negative part of the experience was the fact that I waited in line for a good thirty minutes... only to get to the counter and find out I was in the wrong line. Not totally the pharmacy's fault (but would more clearly marked signage break the bank?), but it did add an extra forty-five minutes to my day, while I waited in a second line. Considering that was the only hiccup in the experience, I'll take it. I'm sure this first adventure with Tricare was maybe just beginner's luck or something - they're trying to win my votes and lure me in slowly, before they expose their true colors in the future when I'm actually sick and desperately in need of codeine. But, so far, I have to say... I'm likin' life as a Navy wife :)

*Until, of course, they inevitably let me down as a large, unwieldy bureaucracy is bound to do at some point.


ebs handler June 6, 2009 at 4:21 AM  

Boy, you got that right...Doctor Wonderful! In and out in half an hour. You have struck gold, my dear.

historygirlie June 6, 2009 at 6:25 AM  

Nice. Next time Kitty has sickness issues, I'm coming out to your dr. the last time she was REALLY sick, we waited in the lobby for 45 minutes because, and I quote, "someone was sicker than your baby. We picked them first".

Ahem. Thanks. so while my baby was wailing in the lobby, disturbing everyone, you get to pick and choose. Nice. :)

I think you should also get that t-shirt....super cute.

Michelle June 6, 2009 at 8:38 AM  

Impressive! Hate to burst your bubble though, but consider it beginner's luck! =)

Sevibabyyy June 6, 2009 at 1:56 PM  

Oh Tricare, good old Tricare. I'm glad someone is having a good experience with them.

NatalieW June 8, 2009 at 10:05 PM  

I'm glad you had a good experience the first time around. I've had mixed experiences with military docs. In Pensacola, I had an amazing doctor, but here at Oak Harbor it hasn't been as great. I'm going to be requesting a new primary care doctor. Ugh.

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