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Tricare Help: Can I move out and still keep stepdad's Tricare?

Jun. 27, 2013 - 05:59PM   |  

Q. I was thinking about moving out of my parents’ house to live closer to my school. I’m covered by Tricare under my stepfather, who is in the Navy. If I moved out, I would be paying for my own rent and food, but my parents would still cover my phone bill and insurance. Would I be able to keep my Tricare coverage?

A. The military defines “dependent children” as those who are dependent on their military sponsors for more than 50 percent of their financial support.

That would likely not be the case for you if you moved out and paid for your own rent, food and other expenses.

The ultimate arbiter of Tricare eligibility is the Defense Enrollment Eligibility Reporting System. You may call the main DEERS support office at 1-800-538-9552 to further discuss your situation, but you’ll likely get the same answer.

Q. I am the wife of an active-duty airman. I’m pregnant, but not by my husband. He is aware and we’re going to work through this and stay married. The real father most likely won’t be in the picture.

On the birth certificate, it will most likely be my name alone with a slight possibility of the biological dad signing. My husband and I plan on raising the baby, but are confused about how Tricare will work in this situation. Will the baby be his dependent since we are married, even though biologically he is not the father?

A. Stepchildren of Tricare sponsors are fully eligible for Tricare coverage, so your child will be covered as long as you remain married to your husband and as long as your husband remains eligible for Tricare.

However, stepchildren lose Tricare eligibility if the service member and the biological parent divorce.

Once your child is born, your husband should contact DEERS to properly register the child for Tricare coverage.

He can do this by visiting the ID Card/DEERS office of any military installation, or by calling the main support office at 1-800-538-9552.

Q. I am 82 and using Tricare for Life. Our 55-year-old daughter lives with us and helps care for my wife and me. Therefore, we assist in her housing and support. She has no health insurance. Can I claim her as a Tricare beneficiary?

A. Children of Tricare beneficiaries normally “age out” of all potential Tricare options when they turn 26.

For children under that age threshold, the general requirement is that the military sponsor must provide more than half of the dependent child’s financial support and the child must be unmarried and have no access to other health insurance.

In sum, it’s highly doubtful that you can claim your daughter as your dependent for Tricare purposes.

However, Tricare does not make these kinds of eligibility determinations; only the military services may do that.

The mechanism they use is DEERS, which you can contact to inquire about your situation by visiting the ID Card/DEERS office of any military installation or by calling the main support office at 1-800-538-9552.

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

Answers by RallyPoint

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