Q. I have a friend, an Air Force retiree, who is going through a divorce. In the divorce papers, his estranged wife is requiring that he keep her and her child (who is not his biological child) on Tricare for an additional year. Can she sue him if Tricare drops her?
A. As a lawyer friend of mine says, "Anybody can sue somebody for anything. Finding a lawyer willing to take the case, and/or winning the case, are entirely different matters."
The legal requirements for Tricare eligibility are established by federal law. I cannot give legal advice, but I can suggest the best place to start an inquiry about the legal requirements for Tricare eligibility is by calling the Defense Enrollment Eligibility Reporting System support office at 800-538-9552.
DEERS cannot give legal advice, but it can advise inquirers about the provisions of federal law concerning Tricare eligibility. Even lawyers should begin any inquiries about Tricare eligibility at that office.
Q. I am a retired, 100 percent disabled Navy officer. I have a 41-year-old son who is disabled and receives Social Security Disability Insurance. Does he qualify for Tricare and dental coverage?
A. To begin an inquiry concerning the possibility of your disabled son's Tricare eligibility, call the Defense Enrollment Eligibility Reporting System at 800-538-9552.
If your son is determined to be entitled to Tricare, and if he is enrolled in free Medicare Part A and in Medicare Part B, he will be entitled to the Tricare program called Tricare for Life. To use Tricare for Life, he must be properly registered in DEERS.
Under Tricare for Life, Medicare Parts A and B become the beneficiary's primary health insurance, and Tricare Standard, as second payer, acts as a free Medicare supplement. This gives the beneficiary coverage by two full-service, stand-alone plans.
Under Tricare for Life, the vast majority of the beneficiary's medical expenses will be paid in full by the combined coverage of Medicare plus Tricare. The only cost for Tricare for Life coverage is the monthly premium for Medicare Part B. That is about $100 per month in 2012.
Tricare does not have a dental benefit. It does, however, provide for enrollment in a commercial dental insurance plan available to Tricare beneficiaries at group rates. There is a plan for active-duty personnel and their Tricare-eligible family members, and there is a similar plan for retirees and their families. You can get more information at http://www.trdp.org">www.trdp.org.
Write to Tricare Help, Times News Service, 6883 Commercial Drive, Springfield, VA 22159; or firstname.lastname@example.org">email@example.com. In email, include the word "Tricare" in the subject line and do not attach files. Get Tricare advice anytime at www.militarytimes.com/tricarehelp">www.militarytimes.com/tricarehelp.