Are You A Health Care Provider?Enter Here

Does TRICARE Pay for TMS Therapy?

Man with family wondering does TRICARE cover TMS Therapy?

Yes, TRICARE pays for TMS therapy, but only under certain conditions. If you or a loved one are feeling down and wondering, “Does TRICARE pay for TMS therapy?” the answer is yes, but only if specific requirements are met. Being in the military or having served can be incredibly challenging. Many veterans and active-duty military members face unique mental health struggles, including depression, PTSD, and anxiety. It’s tough to see someone you care about battle these issues, especially when traditional treatments don’t seem to help. Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) is a treatment that uses magnetic fields to improve symptoms of depression. Let’s explore what TRICARE covers and how TMS therapy can help.

What is TMS Therapy and What Does it Do?

TMS is a non-invasive treatment that uses magnetic fields to stimulate nerve cells in the brain. This stimulation can help improve symptoms of depression. TMS is particularly beneficial because it is an outpatient procedure, does not require anesthesia, and has fewer side effects compared to traditional antidepressant medications. TMS is highly effective for individuals who have not responded well to other treatments.

What Disorders Does TRICARE Cover for TMS?

TRICARE is a health insurance program for military members, veterans, and their families. TRICARE covers TMS therapy for Major Depressive Disorder (MDD) if other treatments, like medication and therapy, have not worked. MDD is a severe form of depression that affects daily life.

Conditions Not Covered:

These conditions are not yet covered by TRICARE for TMS therapy, even though TMS and rTMS have shown promise in treating them in some scientific studies.

Connections Between PTSD, Concussions, and MDD

Many active military members and veterans suffer from PTSD and concussions. These conditions can sometimes lead to or worsen MDD. TMS therapy has been effective in treating MDD, providing hope for those who struggle with depression. It’s important to note that while TRICARE does not currently cover TMS therapy for PTSD, anxiety, or concussion symptoms, these conditions often coexist with MDD. This makes managing MDD even more crucial for overall mental health.

A study by Janicak et al. (2008) demonstrated the effectiveness of TMS therapy in treating MDD, showing significant improvement in patients who had not responded to other treatments. This is particularly relevant for military members and veterans, as MDD often overlaps with PTSD and concussions, impacting their quality of life.

Symptoms TMS Has Been Shown to Address

Besides MDD, TMS therapy has shown promise in addressing symptoms like:

  • Anxiety (not yet covered by TRICARE)
  • PTSD symptoms (not yet covered by TRICARE)
  • Headaches from concussions (not yet covered by TRICARE)

These benefits are based on scientific studies and are considered off-label and not FDA-approved. More research is needed for TRICARE to cover these conditions.

Why TMS is Often Sought After by People with TRICARE

TMS therapy is often sought after by individuals with TRICARE because it offers a non-invasive, medication-free treatment option for MDD. Many military members and veterans have tried multiple medications and therapies without success. TMS provides a new hope for those who have not found relief through traditional treatments. Its effectiveness in treating MDD makes it an attractive option for those dealing with depression, especially when other methods have failed.

FDA Approval and TRICARE Coverage

TMS therapy is FDA-approved for treating MDD. For TRICARE to cover TMS, patients must have tried other treatments without success. This means medications and traditional therapy must not have worked before TRICARE will pay for TMS.

Are You or A Loved One Struggling? Call us at (602) 922-0284

Do you qualify for a free EEG and psychiatric evaluation? Contact American TMS Clinics in Phoenix, Arizona today to find out!

American TMS Clinics is a fully accredited TRICARE TMS provider in Phoenix Arizona, dedicated to helping you on your journey to better mental health.

FAQs About TMS Therapy and TRICARE Insurance

Is TMS covered by TRICARE insurance?

Yes, TRICARE covers Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) therapy, but only under specific conditions. TRICARE covers TMS for treating Major Depressive Disorder (MDD) when other treatments, such as medication and traditional therapy, have not been successful.

What does TMS therapy cost?

The cost of TMS therapy can vary widely depending on the provider and the number of sessions required. On average, a full course of TMS therapy can cost between $6,000 and $12,000. However, if you have TRICARE and meet the necessary requirements, this cost can be significantly reduced or fully covered by your insurance.

What qualifies you for TMS?

To qualify for TMS therapy, you generally need a diagnosis of Major Depressive Disorder (MDD) and must have tried and failed to respond to other treatments, such as antidepressant medications and traditional therapy. Your healthcare provider will evaluate your medical history and current condition to determine if TMS is a suitable option for you.

How long does it take insurance to approve TMS therapy?

The approval time for TMS therapy can vary depending on your insurance provider and your specific situation. With TRICARE, the process usually involves your healthcare provider submitting a request along with your medical records and a treatment plan. Once submitted, it can take a few weeks for TRICARE to review and approve the request. It’s essential to stay in communication with your provider and TRICARE to ensure all necessary documentation is submitted promptly.

How do you qualify for TMS with TRICARE?

To qualify for TMS therapy with TRICARE, you need to have a diagnosis of Major Depressive Disorder (MDD) and must have tried other treatments without success. This means you should have undergone medication and traditional therapy, but did not achieve the desired improvement. Your healthcare provider will need to provide documentation of your treatment history and current condition to TRICARE as part of the approval process.

What will TRICARE not pay for?

TRICARE does not currently cover TMS therapy for conditions other than Major Depressive Disorder (MDD) and Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD). This includes:

  • Anxiety disorders
  • Bipolar disorder
  • Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
  • Concussions

Even though TMS has shown promise in treating these conditions in some scientific studies, TRICARE only covers TMS therapy for MDD at this time.


  1. Carpenter, L. L., et al. (2012). “Transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) for major depression: a multisite, naturalistic, observational study of acute treatment outcomes in clinical practice.” Depression and Anxiety, 29(7), 587-596.
  2. George, M. S., et al. (2010). “Daily left prefrontal transcranial magnetic stimulation therapy for major depressive disorder: a sham-controlled randomized trial.” Archives of General Psychiatry, 67(5), 507-516.
  3. Kozel, F. A., et al. (2004). “Left prefrontal repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation improves mood in bipolar depression.” Psychological Medicine, 34(5), 1131-1136.
  4. Janicak, P. G., et al. (2008). “Transcranial magnetic stimulation in the treatment of major depressive disorder: a comprehensive summary of safety experience from acute exposure, extended exposure, and during reintroduction treatment.” Journal of Clinical Psychiatry, 69(2), 222-232.
  5. O’Reardon, J. P., et al. (2007). “Efficacy and safety of transcranial magnetic stimulation in the acute treatment of major depression: a multisite randomized controlled trial.” Biological Psychiatry, 62(11), 1208-1216.
  6. Rossi, S., et al. (2009). “Safety, ethical considerations, and application guidelines for the use of transcranial magnetic stimulation in clinical practice and research.” Clinical Neurophysiology, 120(12), 2008-2039.
  7. FDA. (2008). “FDA Clears rTMS for Treatment of Depression.” FDA News Release.
  8. Health Net Federal Services. (2021). “Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) for Depression.”