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Tricare Help: Can estranged spouse be taken off DEERS?

Apr. 12, 2012 - 02:29PM   |   Last Updated: Apr. 12, 2012 - 02:29PM  |  
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Q. My friend and his wife are legally separated, but she is not cooperating with a divorce. How can he get her off his DEERS?

A. Tricare eligibility for spouses generally ends only when a divorce is final — and in some cases, not even then. If a service member serves at least 20 years in uniform, is married for at least 20 years, and the marriage and military service overlap for at least 20 years, a former spouse may retain Tricare eligibility after divorce, unless and until the spouse remarries. This is known as the "20/20/20" rule.

The ultimate authority on eligibility questions such as yours is the Defense Enrollment Eligibility Reporting System. I suggest your friend call the DEERS support office toll free at 800-538-9552 to see what his options are.

Q. I will turn 65 in 2014. My husband won't turn 65 until 2021. I know I must sign up for Medicare Part B at $99.90 per month and will enroll in Tricare for Life. Will I have to continue to pay the annual Tricare Prime fee at the family rate so my spouse will still be covered until he reaches 65? And once he can get Tricare for Life, will we each have to pay $99.90 per month?

A. Once you become eligible for Tricare for Life, your spouse can continue in Tricare Prime, and you should be able to shift from the family rate to the individual rate for him.

Once your spouse turns 65, you will both have to pay the monthly Medicare Part B premium; that cost is a standard rate per individual.

Q. How do I change my military treatment facility? I moved from North Carolina to Texas more than a year ago, and apparently the outpatient clinic I go to now to keep up with my VA appointments is not classified as my military treatment facility. All this time, I had assumed that kind of information would have changed as I moved and enrolled in a different medical center. Whom should I contact to straighten this out?

A. In moving from North Carolina to Texas, you have moved from the Tricare North region to the Tricare South region (unless you are in the El Paso area, which is in the Tricare West region).

Without knowing more details about your situation — your beneficiary status and which Tricare plan you are covered under, for example — I can only suggest you contact the regional contractor or one of the Tricare regional service centers for your region and ask for guidance. You can find contact information for the regional contractors on the official Tricare website, www.tricare.mil. Ë

Write to Tricare Help, Times News Service, 6883 Commercial Drive, Springfield, VA 22159; tricarehelp@militarytimes.com?subject=Tricare%20Help:%20Can%20estranged%20spouse%20be%20taken%20off%20DEERS?">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.

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