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Q. I’ve recently reconciled with my ex-husband, who is active-duty military. If we got remarried, would I be eligible for Tricare again?
A. If you marry an active-duty service member, you become eligible for Tricare, regardless of how many times you marry him.
However, for a spouse to use Tricare benefits, the service member/sponsor must ensure the spouse has a military ID card and is properly registered in the Defense Enrollment Eligibility Reporting System. This can be done at any installation ID Card/DEERS office or by calling the main DEERS support office toll free at 800-538-9552.
Q. Can I contribute to a health savings account when I am covered by Tricare Standard?
A. Technically, yes. But active-duty and retired military personnel who are covered under Tricare don’t meet the minimum annual deductible requirements to make an HSA useful. Tricare does not qualify as a “high deductible health plan” for HSA purposes. You could enroll in an HSA, but the IRS would not allow you to deduct your contributions from your taxes — and in fact would tax you on whatever interest the HSA earns, plus hit you with a penalty. In short, HSAs and Tricare do not mix.
Q. I am a retired Navy captain who is getting married this fall. My fiancee has a 22-year-old son and a 19-year-old daughter, both in college. How can I make sure her children will be covered under my Tricare Standard once we are married?
A. As of the day you tie the knot, your new wife and her children will be eligible for Tricare.
The daughter is eligible for ordinary Tricare for two more years, until she turns 21. If she’s a full-time college student at that time, she’s eligible until age 23. The son is eligible for another year, as long as he remains a full-time college student.
Once they reach age 23, they are no longer eligible for ordinary Tricare. Their only option at that point is Tricare Young Adult, which requires payment of monthly premiums. That coverage is available until age 26, as long as your stepchildren remain unmarried and dependent on you for more than half of their support.
Once your stepchildren are properly registered in the Defense Enrollment Eligibility Reporting System and have valid uniformed services dependent ID cards, they are authorized to begin using Tricare Standard — no further enrollment steps or actions are necessary.
Write to Tricare Help, Times News Service, 6883 Commercial Drive, Springfield, VA 22159; or email@example.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.