Going through a military divorce is a bit more complex than your average civilian divorce. There are specific benefits and amenities that you may want to be able to keep, but that’s hard depending on how long you’ve been married and if you can manage to stay married long enough to qualify for the long-term.
TRICARE is one of the benefits that military spouses receive. This is a health care program for veterans, uniformed service members and their families. Divorce is a qualifying life event under TRICARE’s terms, which means that you may make changes to your plan outside the normal TRICARE open season.
How long do you have to change your TRICARE plan after divorce?
After you get divorced, you have up to 90 days to change the TRICARE health plan. The sponsor needs to update the Defense Enrollment Eligibility Reporting System (DEERS) about the divorce and provide a divorce decree to the system as soon as possible.
TRICARE doesn’t change for the sponsor (the military member) or their children (adopted or biological). However, the ex-spouse will lose coverage in most cases.
When can an ex-spouse keep TRICARE coverage?
A military member’s ex-spouse may keep TRICARE coverage if they:
- Won’t use the military member’s number or name in the DEERS system
- Are eligible through military service
- Will use their own health benefit number to get care and file claims
Not all ex-spouses keep TRICARE. There are other options if you lose eligibility.
What can you do if you lose TRICARE coverage?
If you do lose TRICARE coverage in your divorce, there are other options for health insurance. You may qualify for insurance through the Health Insurance Marketplace, your employer or with a Continued Health Care Benefit Program purchase. There may be other ways to keep your health insurance as well.
Since health insurance is so costly, it’s worth discussing how this loss will affect you, if it will affect you, during your divorce. Your attorney can help you add those costs into a settlement or seek out other spousal support arrangements to help you maintain your health insurance coverage.