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Tricare Help: MTFs can help arrange care when retirees go overseas

Apr. 2, 2014 - 01:07PM   |  
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Q. My husband is a Navy retiree and we have Tricare Prime. If we travel overseas and have a medical emergency, are we covered by Tricare?

A. U.S.-based Tricare beneficiaries who need medical care while traveling overseas should first contact the nearest U.S. military treatment facility. A list of overseas MTFs is at: www.tricare.mil/mtf/.

If you can’t get to an MTF and need to seek care from a hospital or provider in the country where you’re traveling, contact the closest MTF and speak to the patient liaison, who will speak the local language and can help you arrange for private-sector medical care.

If there’s no MTF in the area where you are traveling, contact the Tricare Area Office for the region in which you are traveling for help in finding a host-nation hospital or provider. The hospital or provider you choose must be Tricare-authorized and certified; the TAOs can help with that. There are three TAOs: one for Latin America and Canada, one for Europe and one for the Pacific region.

Contact numbers for the TAOs and more information on using Tricare while traveling overseas can be found at http://www.tricare.mil/overseas.

Q. I’m an active-duty member going through a long divorce. I may have gotten my girlfriend pregnant. Is there any way I can get her on my Tricare?

A. The only way to cover your girlfriend under your Tricare sponsorship is to marry her. Tricare does not cover girlfriends/boyfriends of military beneficiaries.

However, if your girlfriend is, in fact, pregnant by you, the child could be covered under your Tricare sponsorship if he or she qualified as your military dependent.

For more information, contact the Defense Enrollment Eligibility Reporting System by visiting the ID Card/DEERS office on any military installation or by calling the main DEERS support office in California at 800-538-9552.

Q. I’m a retiree. I’d like to divorce my wife, but she has a lot of ongoing medical issues. Can I keep her on my Tricare if we get divorced?

A. Former spouses are eligible for Tricare only if they meet the criteria of the so-called “20/20/20” rule: The member must have served at least 20 years and be eligible for retirement benefits; the marriage must have lasted at least 20 years; and the member’s service and the marriage must have overlapped by at least 20 years.

If those conditions are met, a former spouse remains eligible for Tricare indefinitely, as long as she does not remarry. If she does, she loses Tricare eligibility, and it can’t be restored even if the subsequent marriage ends in death or divorce.

There is a corollary, the “20/20/15” rule, under which the required overlap of service and marriage is reduced to 15 years rather than 20. If that criteria is met, a former spouse is eligible for Tricare coverage for one year after the divorce.

If neither of those scenarios applies to your situation, your wife would lose Tricare coverage on the day your divorce became final.

Write to tricarehelp@militarytimes.com. Include the word “Tricare” in the subject line and do not attach files.

Answers by RallyPoint

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