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Tricare Help: Will disabled wife lose coverage if we divorce?

Feb. 9, 2012 - 02:06PM   |   Last Updated: Feb. 9, 2012 - 02:06PM  |  
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Q. My wife had a massive stroke and lives in a nursing home. She has been approved for Medicaid with Tricare being primary and Medicaid as secondary. We have been married for more than 20 years and I have more than 18 years of active duty. If I file for divorce and it is granted, would she be eligible for any Tricare benefits, or would she be dropped from Tricare?

A. The information in your letter appears to indicate that your wife will lose all her Tricare eligibility immediately on the date the divorce is final.

To retain Tricare eligibility following divorce, a former spouse must have been married to the same uniformed service sponsor for at least 20 years during which time the sponsor earned retirement credits. That is, the sponsor's active-duty service and the marriage must have overlapped for at least 20 years. Your letter does not report that.

For an official response about your wife's Tricare eligibility following divorce, call the Defense Enrollment Eligibility Reporting System at 800-538-9552.

Q. I have been married to a retired soldier for six years. He has Tricare for Life, and since I have a DEERS ID card and Medicare Parts A and B, I know I am eligible for it, too. If my husband dies before me, will I still be eligible for TFL, or would I have to be married to him for 20 years?

A. Your husband's death would have no effect on your Tricare or Tricare for Life eligibility if he should predecease you. The duration of the marriage is not a factor.

The only exception would be if you remarry. In that case, you would immediately lose Tricare eligibility under his sponsorship. That eligibility could not be restored under your current husband's sponsorship even if the second marriage were to end in divorce or the death of your second husband.

Q. My girlfriend and I recently had a baby. We are not married, but she is my beneficiary. Can I put her on Tricare Reserve Select with my daughter?

A. According to federal law, because you are not married to the mother, she cannot become eligible for Tricare. That means her maternity care cannot be covered by Tricare.

The child's situation is a different matter. As your biological child, your baby can be covered retroactively to the moment of birth.

To provide Tricare coverage for your daughter, you must take certain actions. To learn what you must do, and for guidance in doing it, call DEERS at 800-538-9552. Be prepared to take notes. DEERS and your personnel office will walk you through the process.

Write to Tricare Help, Times News Service, 6883 Commercial Drive, Springfield, VA 22159; tricarehelp@militarytimes.com?subject=Tricare%20Help:%20Will%20disabled%20wife%20lose%20coverage%20if%20we%20divorce?">click here to send an email. In email, include the word "Tricare" in the subject line and do not attach files. Get Tricare advice anytime http://www.militarytimes.com/tricarehelp">on our blog.

Answers by RallyPoint

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