Q. I just heard from a friend that Tricare for Life will not be granted to anyone not already enrolled after Oct. 1, 2012. Is there any truth to that?
A. In a word, no.
I understand your concerns. There is a lot of insecurity right now, and more than a few people feel they can't trust their elected officials. But, you have to be careful about whom to believe. Most of those who say the sky is falling have a few wires crossed.
Remember, creating Tricare for Life took an act of Congress. Congress had to write, and pass, a special amendment to the law that governs Tricare. Only Congress can create or change a federal law.
At this time, there are nearly 10 million Tricare beneficiaries. If there were a major change in federal law to curtail their benefits, it wouldn't be a rumor passed by word of mouth — it would be in every newspaper and on every TV channel in the country.
And there is no planned termination or major change to TFL eligibility. There may be adjustments due to changing situations, but not of the scope you were told.
Q. I am in a relationship and would like to get married. My fiancee has legal custody of her grandson. Once we are married, will this child be eligible for care under my Tricare? Also, will any of my fiancee's pre-existing conditions be covered, such as diabetes?
A. By federal law, unless you were to legally adopt the grandson, I don't believe his Tricare eligibility is possible. To confirm that and explore other possibilities, call the Defense Enrollment Eligibility Reporting System at 800-538-9552.
Tricare has no restrictions on its coverage of pre-existing conditions.
Q. My parents are getting divorced after 26 years; my dad was on active duty for 16 of those. They married in Korea; my mom is a Korean native but now has her American citizenship. My dad receives a pension from his 20 years in the military. Will my mother still be able to use Tricare after the divorce?
A. Your mother's nationality and citizenship have no bearing on her Tricare eligibility. To be eligible after a divorce is final, the former spouse had to have been married to the same service member for at least 20 years, during which time the military sponsor accrued credits counting toward retirement. That is, at least 20 years of the marriage must have overlapped with 20 years of the military member's active-duty service. Your mother doesn't meet that requirement.
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