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Staying on parent's Tricare plan

May. 13, 2013 - 06:00AM   |  

Q. Can I be added back to my dad’s Tricare after getting a divorce? I am 19 years old and a full-time student.

A. Yes, you can become your father’s dependent for Tricare purposes after your divorce, as long as you remain unmarried and your father provides more than half of your financial support. The fact that you are a full-time student doesn’t matter until you turn 21. At that point, you may continue under your father’s Tricare sponsorship until age 23 if you remain a full-time student. After that, you’d be eligible only for Tricare Young Adult, which requires payment of monthly ­premiums.

Once you are divorced, your father will need to update your status in his file in the Defense Enrollment Eligibility Reporting System database. DEERS is the Defense Department’s eligibility portal for Tricare. Your dad can do that by visiting the ID Card/DEERS office of any military installation, or by calling the main DEERS support office toll free at 800-538-9552.

Q. I’m in the Army National Guard, and my six-year contract runs out in June 2014. I’m married with two children and I’m wondering when my contract runs out and I don’t re-enlist, am I still eligible for any Tricare benefits?

A. Once an individual is no longer in the military, either as a drilling reservist or an active-duty member, the only way to be eligible for any Tricare programs would be if he had accrued enough active-duty time to qualify for military retirement benefits. Even then, if the individual was a reserve component retiree, he would not be able to use those benefits until age 60.

The only military-related health care option open to you after you leave service is the Continued Health Care Benefit Program, designed to be a bridge for separating troops until they get set up in their civilian careers and gain employer health coverage. CHCBP benefits are comparable to Tricare Standard; however, CHCBP requires payment of quarterly premiums, and they are not cheap. Coverage is limited to 18 months.

Q. My husband is retired Air Force. He was divorced many years ago and his children remained under his Tricare plan. His youngest daughter is now a full-time college student, but his child-support obligations to her recently ended. Can his daughter still be covered under his Tricare if he no longer provides more than 50 percent of her financial support?

A. One of the requirements for continued Tricare coverage of college students beyond the 21st birthday is that they remain dependent upon the military sponsor for more than half of their financial support. If that is no longer the case for your stepdaughter, she would not be able to stay under his Tricare.

Tricare does not make these kinds of eligibility determinations; only the military services can do that. Contact the ­Defense Enrollment Eligibility Reporting System office on the nearest military installation, or call the main DEERS support office toll free at 800-538-9552.

Write to Tricare Help, Times News Service,
6883 Commercial Drive, Springfield, VA 22159; or tricarehelp@militarytimes.com. In email, include the word “Tricare” in the subject line and do not attach files.
Get Tricare advice anytime at www.militarytimes.com/blogs/tricarehelp.

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