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Tricare Help: Checking status of ex-wife's baby on my coverage

Oct. 24, 2013 - 08:39PM   |  
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Q. My ex-wife became pregnant by another man during our divorce. We are divorced now, but we were married when she had the baby. I know she was entitled to Tricare benefits during the divorce proceedings, but how can I find out if she put another man’s baby on my Tricare?

A. The child would have to be listed as a dependent on your file in the Defense Enrollment Eligibility Reporting System, the Defense Department’s eligibility portal for Tricare.

It is extremely unlikely that your wife/ex-wife could have done that without your knowledge, but you can check the status of your DEERS information by visiting the ID Card/DEERS office of any military installation or by calling 800-538-9552.

Q. I’m the widow of an active-duty service member. I have two daughters from that marriage. I’m not thinking of remarrying, but I would like to have more children in the near future. How will that affect benefits for me and the child I carry?

A. As the surviving spouse of an active-duty member, you remain eligible for Tricare coverage for life, as long as you do not remarry. Your two daughters from your marriage to the active-duty member remain eligible for Tricare — again, as long as you do not remarry — until they reach age 21, or age 23 if they are full-time college students.

Should you become pregnant again, Tricare will cover your pregnancy-related medical care up to and including the birth, as well as any post-natal care you may require.

However, the baby will not be eligible for Tricare coverage under your late husband’s sponsorship. The only way the baby could be covered under Tricare is if the father is another Tricare-eligible beneficiary.

Q. I am 81 and retired from the Army. I want to marry my caregiver, who is 73 and a legal resident for more than six years. She has no Medicare coverage, Part A or B. Would she be entitled to Tricare for Life should we get married?

A. If your caregiver is not entitled to, and cannot apply for, Medicare Part A (free hospitalization insurance) under her own Social Security number based on her own work history, she should apply for Part A benefits under your Social Security number.

She should be eligible for premium-based Medicare Part B outpatient insurance — the bedrock requirement for Tricare for Life eligibility — even if she is not eligible for Part A.

However, she may be subject to Medicare’s Part B late enrollment penalty, which raises the monthly premium by 10 percent for each 12-month period that an individual was eligible to sign up for Part B but did not. The basic premium is currently about $100 a month for most eligible beneficiaries.

Once you are married and your caregiver is enrolled in Part B, she will be fully eligible for Tricare for Life as your spouse.

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 any time at www.militarytimes.com/tricarehelp.

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