What TRICARE Covers
As a member of the military or a spouse of a member of the military, you are entitled to TRICARE, which is a benefit of serving. You might have TRICARE Prime, TRICARE Select or another TRICARE plan. One of the most common questions people have is what TRICARE is and what it actually covers.
This is especially true when you are going through the changes that come with living your life. Here is a little bit about different life events and what you need to know about what TRICARE covers and what changes when you go through them.
What TRICARE Covers During Life Events
When You Get Married
When you get married after already being a service member and using TRICARE, you will have 90 days from the date of your marriage to make changes to your health plan. Your new spouse’s plan will depend on where you live and your military status. There is also a dental plan that your spouse can purchase that is seperate from the TRICARE Health plans.
When You Get Divorced
You and your eligible children have 90 days after a divorce or annulment to change your TRICARE health plan. The eligibility for TRICARE will not change for the sponsor or any biological or adopted children. Your former spouse’s TRICARE benefits will end at 12:01 am the day of the divorce, unless they meet certain requirements.
When You Give Birth To or Adopt A Child
When you or your spouse gives birth to a child, you have 90 days from your child’s birth date or the date of the adoption to enroll in a health plan. You will need to register your child in DEERS to start. TRICARE offers coverage during your pregnancy, as well as newborn, and well-baby care. They also offer a free breast pump for every birth event.
When Your Children Become Adults
You might be wondering what happens when your military children become adults. You will have 90 days after your child turns 21 to make changes to TRICARE. That means you do have until at least age 21 before things change, as opposed to having to do something right when they turn 18. From ages 21-26, they may qualify for TRICARE Young Adult if they remain unmarried, and are adult dependent children. If they do not qualify for TRICARE Young Adult, they can purchase the Continued Health Care Benefit Program.
When Your Child Goes To College
You can get TRICARE for your college student, until their 23rd birthday or graduation, whatever comes first. They will need to be enrolled full time at an approved college, and the sponsor must be provide at least 50% of their child’s financial support while in college. After your child turns 23 or graduates, they may qualify for TRICARE Young Adult or they can purchase the Continued Health Care Benefit Program.
When You Have A Death In Your Family
When there is a death in your family, you will have 90 days afterwards to change your health plan. If the sponsor is the one who passed away while serving on active duty, TRICARE will continue to provide coverage for any surviving family members. The plans and the cost will depend on the sponsor’s military status when they died, and if they are a spouse or a child. Spouses can keep TRICARE unless they remarry. If another family member passes away, who isn’t the sponsor, you will need to contact your local DEERS office to find out what to do to report the death. Depending on your situation, your plans might change.
When You Move
You will be sure to move many times during your military career. If you move to a new country, and/or cuty, region or a zip code, you will have 90 days from the date of your address change to change your plan. Know that you shouldn’t disenroll before you move, and you will be covered by your current plan on the way to your new location. What you need to do will depend on your current plan.
Other Qualifying Life Events
There are a few other qualifying life events that you might go through during your military career. Knowing what steps you need to take with TRICARE is important. You don’t want to lose any coverage because you didn’t fill out the right paperwork or you missed an important step. TRICARE explains exactly what you will need to do based on your own situation.
- Military Benefits Changes for 2020
- TRICARE to Cover 3D Breast Cancer Screenings in 2020
- TRICARE: Guide to TRICARE
- Healthcare When Going From Active Duty to National Guard
- Getting A Free Breast Pump With TRICARE
- TRICARE Prime vs Select: How To Decide
- New TRICARE Select Fees for Retirees
About the author
Julie Provost is a freelance writer, blogger, and owner of Soldier's Wife, Crazy Life, a support blog for military spouses. She lives in Tennessee with her National Guard husband and three boys.