How Long Do I Have Military Tricare after a Divorce?

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When divorcing a spouse, an individual in the military needs to update the Defense Enrollment Eligibility Reporting System first and then ensure that all other documentation is up to date as well. Then, the person needs to contact Tricare to determine if any other processes need completing based on the year, state or new changes.

Tricare is important for the sponsor and family. The sponsor will remain eligible and does not change after a divorce becomes final. This is the same for any biological and adopted children of the individual. However, anyone that does not remain or retain eligibility will not have any access to services or materials that Tricare supplies. If a spouse that completes a divorce but retains the Tricare support, he or she may find payments needed for Tricare to compensate against the additional care. Former spouses often lose Tricare if the divorce finalizes and is legal. However, separation or living apart may not affect eligibility at all.

Divorced Spouses in Tricare

While a spouse remains legally wed to the sponsor, he or she will retain support with Tricare. However, the very minute past midnight on the day of the legal and valid divorce, all benefits cease. There are options that may ensure this person may keep the support, but this is usually only possible if certain requirements are met. It is greatly important that the sponsor or divorced spouse contacts Tricare to ensure all necessary documentation transfers to the organization. Any other files that need completion should finalize before the divorce occurs. For some, Tricare benefits are essential.

Meeting Requirements for Tricare

As long as Tricare receives communication with the divorced spouse, it is possible that continued care may remain. It is vital that all necessary documentation supplied and completed transfers to the correct location within Tricare before the divorce is final. This ensures that satisfying the requirements occurs before time runs out. Then, it is possible to remain eligible for Tricare. After the divorce becomes official, the spouse may use his or her own name to retain benefits, file claims and obtain care. The sponsor or anyone else is no longer attached to these services. This includes children that are not adopted or biological to the spouse divorced through these circumstances.

Other Eligibility Requirements

Biological and adopted children of the sponsor remain eligible for Tricare benefits until they are eighteen or older. These youths must be dependent on the sponsor or divorced spouse to keep benefits for care and claims. To stay a dependent, they cannot marry another individual or serve on active duty with the military. However, after the young person is of age and no longer eligible to remain in care of the sponsor, he or she may purchase Tricare Young Adult services until 26 years of age. Any stepchildren of the marriage will lose eligibility once the divorce is final and the DEERS updates.

The Loss of Eligibility Explained

Losing eligibility in Tricare may cost the individual greatly. He or she may also have minimum coverage for essential matters under the Affordable Care Act removed once Tricare is lost. However, if the divorced spouse is not able to retain Tricare benefits, he or she will no longer have services and the ability to make a claim without needing to pay back Tricare after the divorce finalizes. It is possible after losing Tricare to purchase a temporary coverage with continued benefits in health care. If the minimum is not enough for the individual or family, the divorced spouse may purchase another policy along with the Tricare temporary package. Other health insurance is searchable through the online websites.

Another health insurance plan pays first and then Tricare may pickup the remainder. However, the no longer eligible spouse will need other coverage to take the bulk of payment for healthcare services. Tricare may act as a second payer for children of the divorced spouse as well in certain situations. However, shared custody or visitation may provide these benefits when the military spouse is the other parent. It is important that these details are understood by both divorced parents with children.

Legal Help in Tricare after the Divorce

To retain eligibility with Tricare, it may become necessary to hire a lawyer. When paperwork does not deliver to the correct area or there is some bias against the divorced spouse, legal assistance may help. Legal representation will ensure the rights of the client receive protection in these matters.


Disclaimer: While every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of this publication, it is not intended to provide legal advice as individual situations will differ and should be discussed with an expert and/or lawyer.

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