Many active duty service members (ADSM) may eventually retire from their branch of uniformed services. If you are ADSM, are you ready to make the transition to civilian life? If you retire, you and your family will still be eligible for TRICARE. But, it’s important to note that you must actively enroll in a TRICARE health plan if you want coverage for civilian care. Find out now about the TRICARE health plans available for retirees and their family members. This will prepare you to arrange for continued healthcare coverage when the time comes.
“The date of your retirement counts as a qualifying life event,” said Dr. Danita Hunter, TRICARE’s chief policy and program officer. “This gives you a 90-day window to enroll in a new TRICARE plan. If you do not enroll in a health plan, you are only eligible for care at a military hospital or clinic if space is available. .
What stays the same with your TRICARE coverage when you retire? Be sure to review the TRICARE Retirement from Active Duty Brochure. As long as you remain eligible for care at a military hospital or clinic, you and your family have lower priority access than when you were on active duty. The capacity of military hospitals and clinics varies by location. You can still use the Military Pharmacy to fill your prescription medications and use other pharmacy options through the TRICARE Pharmacy Program. Keep in mind that most retirees and their family members need to refill some maintenance medications through TRICARE Pharmacy home delivery. Plus, your TRICARE coverage stays with you when you move or travel.
So what changes at TRICARE when you retire? See some changes you should know about below.
After retirement, your TRICARE status changes. First, you and each of your eligible family members will need to obtain a new Uniform Services ID card to reflect your retired status. You will also need to update your and your family members’ contact information in the Defense Enrollment Eligibility Reporting System (DEERS). Additionally, if your service in uniform does not update your retired status in DEERS, you cannot re-enroll in TRICARE.
If you qualify for Medicare Part A without premium, you will need to enroll in Medicare Part B before you retire to maintain TRICARE coverage.
TRICARE Health Plans
All ADSMs are enrolled in TRICARE Prime. Once you retire, you can re-enroll in TRICARE Prime if you live in certain areas of the United States called Prime Service Area, where TRICARE Prime is offered. However, TRICARE does not offer TRICARE Prime Remote, TRICARE Prime Overseas and TRICARE Prime Remote Overseas to retirees and family members.
TRICARE health plans available to you and your family may include:
Visit the TRICARE Plan Finder to learn more about the plans you may be eligible for. You can also contact your TRICARE contractor for any registration questions. If you do not enroll in a TRICARE health plan within 90 days of your retirement date, you may request retroactive enrollment up to 12 months after your retirement date. You can read more about this on the Eligible Life Events page.
Once enrolled in a TRICARE health plan, you will pay retiree costs. This includes ongoing enrollment fees or monthly bonuses. All enrollment fees or monthly premiums must be paid retroactively to your retirement date for continued coverage. In addition, co-payments and cost shares will apply if you receive care from a civilian TRICARE network provider. You can view and compare costs online or by downloading the TRICARE Costs and Fees Fact Sheet.
New dental and optical insurance options
As a retiree, you are no longer eligible for active duty dental benefits and your family is no longer eligible for dental coverage through the TRICARE dental program. Retired service members and their family members may purchase dental coverage through the Federal Employees Dental and Vision Insurance Program (FEDVIP), administered by the U.S. Office of Personnel Management. If you are enrolled in a TRICARE health plan, you can purchase one of the vision plans offered by FEDVIP.
Where can you learn more about how your TRICARE changes when you leave active duty? Go to the Retirement page on the TRICARE website.
Are you retiring from the National Guard or the Reserves? Then you should read the TRICARE Retirement from the National Guard or Reserve Brochure. A key difference to remember is that you and your family are not legally eligible for TRICARE until you reach age 60, even if you start collecting a retirement pension before age 60. .
Staying informed about the best health insurance plan options for you and your family as you prepare for retirement is important to ensure there is no disruption in your health care coverage.
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