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Tricare Help: No parental support, no Tricare for adult child

Jun. 11, 2014 - 11:19AM   |  

Q. My husband is an active-duty soldier. Our daughter left home just before her 19th birthday. She will turn 20 in July. She lives with friends and we do not provide any support. Are we required by regulation to provide Tricare coverage for her?

A. If you and your husband provide no support for your no-longer-minor daughter and do not consider her your dependent, then your husband, as your family’s sponsor for Tricare purposes, is under no regulatory obligation to list her under his sponsorship in the Defense Enrollment Eligibility Reporting System, the Defense Department’s eligibility portal for Tricare.

You can get more information by visiting the ID Card/DEERS office on your nearest military installation or by calling the main DEERS support office in California toll free at 800-538-9552.

Q. I’m a 62-year-old military retiree and recently lost my job in the private sector. Tricare Standard is my only health insurance now. I know when I reach age 65 I must sign up for Medicare Parts A and B and will then have Tricare for Life. But at age 65 and beyond, will I still be able to use the Tricare pharmacy plan like I do now, or must I also sign up for the Medicare pharmacy plan?

A. Once you turn 65 and enroll in Medicare, you’ll continue to have full access to the Tricare pharmacy benefit, including the Tricare Mail Order Pharmacy program. There is no need for Tricare for Life beneficiaries to enroll in a Medicare Part D prescription drug plan. In fact, that would be a detriment because people enrolled in Medicare Part D must file separate claims with Tricare to be reimbursed for the Part D plan’s drug co-payments and deductibles, and they are also shut out of the Tricare Mail Order Pharmacy option, which offers lower prices than retail pharmacies. Bottom line: TFL beneficiaries have zero need for Medicare drug coverage.

Q. I’m an Air Force retiree on my second marriage. Can my wife retain her Tricare coverage if I die before her?

A. Yes. As long as your wife is properly registered under your sponsorship in the Defense Enrollment Eligibility Reporting System, should you pass away before her, she would retain Tricare coverage indefinitely as a surviving spouse, on one condition — that she doesn’t remarry. If she did, she would lose Tricare eligibility through your original sponsorship, and it could not be restored even if her subsequent marriage ended in death or divorce.

Q. My military retiree husband and I would like to get a Tricare supplement. What do you recommend and who would I contact?

A. If you feel the need for a Tricare supplement to augment your regular Tricare coverage, you need only Google the words “Tricare supplemental” and you will get a long list of options. Virtually all major (and many minor) military and veterans associations offer some form of Tricare supplemental policy. However, Tricare Help cannot make specific recommendations, since the needs of each beneficiary will vary greatly.

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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