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Tricare Help: 2 plan options for medically retired soldier

Apr. 25, 2014 - 10:22AM   |  
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Q. I’ve just been medically retired from the Army and have no health insurance. I was told I’m eligible for Tricare, but what are my options? I have a 3-year-old child and need to get her covered, too.

A. Assuming you have an ID card that indicates you’re eligible for military retirement benefits, you are, in fact, eligible for Tricare right now. Active-duty members who are medically retired have the same Tricare eligibility status as regular 20-year military retirees.

Your main options are Tricare Prime, the military’s version of an HMO, which requires enrollment and payment of annual premiums, or Tricare Standard, the military’s version of a fee-for-service health plan, which requires no enrollment or premiums but tends to carry slightly higher out-of-pocket costs than Prime.

If you want Prime, you’ll have to enroll. If you’re OK with Standard, all you need is your retiree ID card, which has a notation on the back indicating you are eligible for military health care. You would show your ID card to any Tricare-authorized provider when you need medical care.

Your dependent daughter is eligible for the same plans. Again, if you choose Prime, you’ll have to enroll her and pay a higher family enrollment fee.

Contact the Defense Enrollment Eligibility Reporting System, the Defense Department’s eligibility database, for Tricare ID cards and other benefits, and ensure the information on you and your daughter is complete and up-to-date. Visit the ID Card/DEERS office on any military installation, or call the main DEERS support office in California toll-free at 800-538-9552.

For more details on the various Tricare plans, visit www.tricare.mil/Welcome/Plans.aspx .

Q. I’m eligible for Tricare Reserve Select. My spouse is a federal employee, and we and our child are on my wife’s Blue Cross/Blue Shield plan. Can I enroll all three of us in TRS instead?

A. No. Individuals eligible for any Federal Employee Health Benefits plan are ineligible for Tricare Reserve Select. Actual enrollment in an FEHB plan doesn’t matter; anyone who is even eligible for such a plan cannot sign up for TRS.

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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