Q. My husband is getting out of the Army in August, and we just found out that I am pregnant. I know that Tricare will not cover the pregnancy past the end of his contract, but is there a way to pay to extend the coverage for the rest of the pregnancy? I know that my husband is not eligible for the Transitional Assistance Management Program. What can we do?
A. If you're sure your husband will not be eligible for health coverage under the Transitional Assistance Management Program, and if he is severing all ties to the military (i.e., he's not going into the National Guard or reserve), the only Tricare option open to you would seem to be the Continued Health Care Benefit Program.
That program is designed to provide transitional health care coverage for separating service members and their families until the member sorts out his post-service plans and finds a civilian job with health coverage.
CHCBP coverage is generally available for 18 months after separation and offers benefits comparable with Tricare Standard.
However, CHCBP is quite pricey. You must purchase it by the quarter (three-month intervals), and at the moment, coverage for an individual is $1,065 per quarter; for a family — which is what you would need — it's $2,390 per quarter. That works out to a little less than $800 per month.
The CHCBP is administered for all eligible personnel by Humana Military Healthcare Services, which is also the contractor for the Tricare South region.
Q. I am 43 and have been awarded Social Security disability pay. In September, I become eligible for Medicare. I have received my cards already. Do I list Medicare as my primary insurance when I go to the doctor, or do I list Tricare Standard?
A. Many private-sector health care providers don't know what Tricare is, so the easiest thing to do is say you have Medicare. The provider will file your bills with Medicare, which will satisfy its allowable charges, then automatically forward any remaining charges to Tricare. That combination should fully cover your medical costs on the vast majority of your claims.
And it wouldn't hurt to call the Defense Enrollment Eligibility Reporting System to verify that your information in their files is correct. You can do that by calling the DEERS support office, toll-free, at 800-538-9552.
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