Q. I am an active-duty soldier who recently got married. My wife has health insurance through the college she attends. Is there any way she can cancel that and go with Tricare? She paid for the year through September, so that's about $900 of insurance she doesn't want to use.
A. Whether your wife can cancel her other health insurance and get a refund is strictly a matter between her and the other plan. Tricare has nothing to do with it.
She can retain the other plan and use Tricare as second payer. That is, she must file all claims with the other plan first. When it has paid its maximum amount, she can file a claim with Tricare, which will usually pay the other plan's deductible and co-payment.
Tricare would make a good supplement for the other plan in that case, because Tricare Standard is free.
Here's how she can file a claim with Tricare after filing with the first insurance:
• Complete a Tricare claim form (DD 2642).
• Attach a copy of the same itemized bill that was sent to the other plan.
• Attach a copy of the other plan's explanation of benefits that reports its processing of each of the charges on that bill.
• Send the claim to the proper Tricare claims processor for where you live. Find that address at www.tricare.mil/claims.
Q. I retired from the Air Force in 1996. Next month, I will turn 65. Since my retirement, I have been enrolled in Tricare Prime. I recently signed up for Medicare, including Part B. I was told I will now have to pay Medicare premiums of $99.90 per month. Is this true? My wife will turn 65 in April. Will we have to pay an additional $99.90 per month for her coverage, or is the premium per family?
A. The short answer to both of your questions is yes. You will have to pay the Part B premiums, and so will your wife.
The Tricare plan called Tricare for Life consists of the Medicare Part A and Part B coverage, plus complete coverage by Tricare Standard. Tricare Standard acts as a free Medicare supplement and pays for most of the things Medicare does not cover, at no additional cost to you.
The total cost to the beneficiary for TFL is the monthly premium for Medicare Part B. The other two parts of TFL, Medicare Part A and Tricare Standard, are free.
Note that once you are in TFL, you will no longer have to pay the annual Tricare Prime enrollment fee — currently $460 or $520 for family coverage, depending on when you enrolled.
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.