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Tricare Help: How can we make sure newborn is covered?

Jul. 25, 2013 - 06:14PM   |  
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Q. I’m an Army veteran and my fiancé is still on active duty. I am pregnant, due this fall. What do I need to do to get my baby covered under Tricare? Do I start now, or wait until the baby is born?

A. You don’t need to do anything this second; newborn babies of active-duty troops are automatically covered from the moment of birth under Tricare Prime for 60 days.

If you want to keep the child covered under Tricare Prime after those 60 days, the military sponsor — your fiancé — must enroll the child in the Defense Eligibility Enrollment System and formally enroll the child in Tricare Prime before those 60 days are up. Otherwise, the child will automatically be covered under Tricare Standard.

You will not be eligible for any Tricare coverage until you marry your active-duty fiancé. Once you marry, you also may enroll in Tricare Prime or Tricare Standard.

Your fiancé should contact DEERS to get information on what documentation he will need to register the child. He can visit the ID Card/DEERS office on any military installation or call 800-538-9552.

Q. I’m retired Navy and 90 years old. I lost my first wife after 62 years and have since remarried. My wife and I are both registered with DEERS and covered by Tricare for Life. When I pass on, will my wife still be covered by Tricare for Life?

A. Yes. Survivors of military retirees remain eligible for Tricare, with all the same health plan options and costs they had before their sponsor passed away.

They remain eligible indefinitely, with one caveat — they lose eligibility if they remarry, and eligibility cannot be restored even if that marriage ends in death or divorce.

So, if you die before your wife, she would indeed remain eligible for Tricare for Life as long as she did not remarry, and as long as she remained enrolled in Medicare Part B and paid the Part B monthly premiums.

Q. I am a retiree and have Tricare for Life. My son is turning 18 this summer. He is graduating high school but doesn’t plan to go to college. How can I keep him covered?

A. Your son may stay under ordinary Tricare (Prime or Standard) until he turns 21, as long as he remains unmarried and you continue to provide more than half of his financial support.

If he is a full-time college student at the time he turns 21, he may stay under ordinary Tricare until age 23. If not, his only other option would be Tricare Young Adult, under which he could stay covered until he reaches age 26. However, Tricare Young Adult requires payment of monthly premiums. You can learn more at www.tricare.mil/tya.

Write to Tricare Help, Times News Service, 6883 Commercial Drive, Springfield, VA 22159; or tricarehelp@military times.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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