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Tricare Help: Stepson not covered if parents divorce

Apr. 25, 2013 - 06:00AM   |  
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Q. My husband is an active-duty Marine and we’re in the early stages of filing for divorce. We have two children, one the biological child of my husband, the other his stepchild (my son), not adopted. Since I don’t fall under the 20/20/20 rule, I am aware that I will lose my Tricare coverage once our divorce is finalized. I also know that our one child, my husband’s biological son, will still be eligible for benefits. My concern is for my other child, my husband’s stepson. Will he automatically lose eligibility for Tricare once the divorce is final? He is 13 and is not covered by any other insurance.

A.Stepchildren of Tricare-eligible military sponsors remain eligible for coverage themselves only while the stepparent’s marriage to the biological parent lasts. As you note, the only way for your son to continue to have coverage under your husband’s sponsorship would be if your husband legally adopted him.

There are no options for military health care for your son once your divorce is finalized. You would have to seek private-sector coverage.

You may want to contact the Tricare managed-care contractor for the Tricare region in which you live to confirm and seek further guidance on the above.

Q. I’m retired and about to move to a location where only Tricare Standard/Extra is available. Are annual physicals covered? What I’ve read seems to indicate they’re not unless they’re some sort of cancer screening, Pap smear, mammogram, prostate screening or immunization.

A.You are correct — routine physicals are not covered under Tricare. The only exceptions are for children ages 5 to 11 in connection with school enrollment, and for active-duty family members traveling overseas with their military sponsors on permanent change-of-station orders.

Exams for specific conditions are covered as preventive services for various age ranges, such as for colorectal cancer, breast cancer, prostate cancer and others.

You can get more information from the Tricare managed-care contractor for the Tricare region where you will be living.

Q. My husband is retired military and has Tricare for Life. I’m getting ready to retire at age 62 and would like to know if I am eligible for TFL under his Social Security number, since I will be losing my primary care insurance when I retire. I am registered under the Defense Enrollment Eligibility Reporting System but have never used Tricare.

A.Eligibility for Tricare for Life is tied to eligibility for Medicare. Until you are eligible for Medicare and enroll in Medicare Parts A and B, you will not be eligible for TFL. However, as the spouse of a military retiree, until you reach age 65, you can be fully covered under other Tricare plans, such as Tricare Prime or Tricare Standard.

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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