(a) Payment of Claims.—
The Secretary of Defense may authorize a contractor under the TRICARE program to pay a claim described in paragraph (2) before seeking to recover from a third-party payer the costs incurred by the contractor to provide health care services that are the basis of the claim to a beneficiary under such program.
(2) A claim under this paragraph is a claim—
that is submitted to the contractor by a provider under the TRICARE program for payment for services for health care provided to a covered beneficiary; and
that is identified by the contractor as a claim for which a third-party payer may be liable.
(b) Recovery From Third-Party Payers.—
The United States shall have the same right to collect charges related to claims described in subsection (a) as charges for claims under section 1095 of this title.
(c) Definition of Third-Party Payer.—
In this section, the term “third-party payer” has the meaning given that term in section 1095(h) of this title, except that such term excludes primary medical insurers.
(Added Pub. L. 105–261, div. A, title VII, § 711(a)(1), Oct. 17, 1998, 112 Stat. 2058; amended Pub. L. 106–65, div. A, title VII, § 716(c)(2), Oct. 5, 1999, 113 Stat. 692.)