New cultural exemption affects midwife services for TRICARE families in Germany

Are you living in Germany? Are you planning to have a child? If so, there are some important updates about midwife services TRICARE covers for families in Germany.

“In Germany, there’s a new cultural exemption that covers German midwife providers under the TRICARE Overseas Program,” said Michael Griffin, program analyst with the TRICARE Overseas Program Office at the Defense Health Agency. “This will make midwife services meeting certain criteria more accessible to families who need to use them for their pregnancy care.”

A midwife is the traditional care provider for mothers and infants. Midwives are trained professionals who support women before, during, and after childbirth. There are several types of certified midwives. Under current policy, TRICARE covers services provided by a certified nurse midwife who is both:

  • Certified by the American Midwifery Certification Board
  • Licensed by the local licensing agency as a midwife where the care is provided (when required).
  • This policy doesn’t reflect health care practices in Germany. Many German midwife providers have qualifications equal to a Registered Nurse. That’s why the DHA granted a cultural exemption.
  • As of June 2, midwife services in Germany are authorized when the following conditions are met:
  • A doctor formally documents the patient’s pregnancy before referring the patient to a midwife
  • The midwife provides the services under the supervision of a doctor throughout the course of care
  • The patient gives birth at a hospital

If you have TRICARE Select Overseas, you should reach out to your TOP Regional Call Center for guidance about accessing midwife services. Connecting with the call center will also help minimize any possible delays in claims processing if you need to submit a claim. If your German midwife provider contacts you about an unresolved claim, ask them to email the TOP Provider Support Services Team.

As described in the TRICARE Maternity Care Brochure, TRICARE covers inpatient hospital visits for labor and delivery. TRICARE will also cover any medically-necessary services you need for your labor and delivery, as well as for postpartum care. If you choose to do a home birth, TRICARE doesn’t cover home births overseas.

Your maternity care costs depend on your beneficiary status, location, TRICARE health plan, and provider. Active duty service members and active duty family members have no costs for maternity care when enrolled in a TRICARE Prime plan. This includes TRICARE Prime Overseas and TRICARE Prime Remote Overseas. All other health plans may have copayments or cost-shares. Some plans may have both. You can use the TRICARE Compare Cost tool to view costs associated with your health plan.

You can find more on maternity care services on the TRICARE website. Not sure which options are available in your area? Reach out to your TOP Regional Call Center for assistance.