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• Tricare, the U.S. Defense Department’s health care program, does not cover the cost of formula for all infants, only for those with metabolic disorders.
Many U.S. families are scrambling for solutions to the domestic baby formula shortage. For military parents of babies who have metabolic disorders, the U.S. Department of Defense has always provided one — but social media posts are getting the details wrong and falsely leading people to believe that it’s more widely available than it actually is.
A May 15 post says that Tricare, the Defense Department's health care program, "will now pay to have (baby formula) shipped directly to you," because of the shortage. It includes steps to follow, including emailing a form to Military Medical Supplies, a private company contracted to provide formula to Tricare.
The post was flagged as part of Facebook’s efforts to combat false news and misinformation on its News Feed. (Read more about our partnership with Facebook.)
But Tricare does not cover the cost of formula for all infants, only for those with metabolic disorders, it said in a May 17 statement posted on its website. Tricare also said it doesn't directly ship baby formula to beneficiaries.
A small number of families — around 200 — are eligible to receive formula paid by Tricare because their infants have dietary needs requiring speciality formulas, including those formulated for feeding tubes, Military.com reported. Participation in the program requires a doctor’s order.
The baby formula shortage is linked to COVID-19 related supply chain issues and a product recall that led to a temporary facility shutdown by a major formula manufacturer. About 40% of formulas are out of stock nationwide, The Atlantic reported May 12.
A Facebook post claimed, "Due to the baby formula shortage Tricare will now pay to have it shipped directly to you."
Tricare does not cover the cost of formula for all infants, but it does cover the formula for infants with metabolic disorders.
The statement is partially accurate but leaves out important details or takes things out of context. We rate it Half True.
Facebook post, May 15, 2022
Military.com, "Free Baby Formula from Tricare? Despite Viral Post, That's a No for Most Users," May 16, 2022
Tricare, "Baby Formula Coverage Reminder," May 17, 2022
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