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Tricare Help : Spouse eligible for Tricare despite separation

Oct. 11, 2012 - 05:03PM   |   Last Updated: Oct. 11, 2012 - 05:03PM  |  

Q. My husband and I have been married for 12 years. He has served 22 years in the military. We recently separated, though we are not legally separated. Recently, he informed me that he plans to drop me from Tricare. Is that possible? Am I still entitled to Tricare benefits if I am no longer in the same household?

A. As long as you are married to an active-duty service member, you are eligible for Tricare coverage. Your husband does not have unilateral authority to drop you from that coverage; only the military services have authority to make Tricare eligibility determinations.

However, your Tricare coverage would end if you divorce.

You can confirm this by calling the Defense Enrollment Eligibility Reporting System support office at 800-538-9552. DEERS is the Defense Department's eligibility portal for Tricare.

For more information, you may want to contact the customer service office for the managed-care contractor for the Tricare region in which you live. Contacts for all Tricare regions are online at http://www.tricare.mil/contacts">www.tricare.mil/contacts.

Q. I am a 100 percent permanently disabled vet. Are my grandchildren eligible for Tricare?

A. Veterans are not eligible for military health care through the Defense Department unless they served at least 20 years in uniform or received medical disability retirement short of 20 years of service.

If you meet either of those criteria, you and your spouse, if you have one, are eligible for health care under the Defense Department's Tricare program, as are any children up to age 21, or up to age 23 if they are full-time college students. After those ages, children are eligible until age 26 for a program called Tricare Young Adult, which charges monthly premiums.

Grandchildren generally are not eligible for Tricare coverage unless they are legally adopted by the grandparent/military sponsor, although in some circumstances, it is possible that grandchildren may be deemed eligible if the grandparent becomes their legal guardian.

The military services are the ultimate authorities on Tricare eligibility determinations; Tricare itself has no authority to make such determinations.

Of course, as a veteran with a disability rating, you are eligible for health care through the Veterans Affairs Department. However, family members are not eligible for VA health care.

You can get more information on your potential eligibility for military health care coverage under Tricare by contacting the Defense Enrollment Eligibility Reporting System support office at 800-538-9552. DEERS is the Defense Department's eligibility portal for Tricare.

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/tricarehelp.

Answers by RallyPoint

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