Q. I am a retiree covered by Tricare Prime, and my daughter is 20 years old. She joined the Air National Guard and is a full-time student at her tech school. Once she is no longer on active-duty status for training, can she remain covered for health care under my Prime?
A. Your daughter will not be able to remain in Tricare unless she continues to qualify as your legal dependent. One criterion of that definition is that she is dependent upon you for more than half of her support. Unless her Guard position is her only source of employment and her only income is the drill pay she receives for her weekend duty, I doubt she will still qualify as your dependent.
Moreover, even if she does still qualify as your dependent, she will age out of “ordinary” Tricare when she turns 21, unless she’s a full-time college student at that time.
Assuming your daughter does not qualify as your dependent any longer, her only Tricare option once she leaves tech school and enters drilling status will be Tricare Reserve Select. That program is not free; it requires payment of monthly premiums.
The place to inquire about your daughter’s Tricare eligibility under your sponsorship is the Defense Enrollment Eligibility Reporting System, the Defense Department’s eligibility portal for Tricare. You can visit the ID Card/DEERS office on any military installation or call the main support office at 800-538-9552.
Q. I am 16 years old, and I am covered by my dad’s Tricare. I’m going to have a baby. Will my dad’s Tricare cover it? Or will I have to get insurance for her from somewhere else?
A. Tricare will cover your maternity care and any services related to the birth of your baby, but Tricare will not cover any care or services for the baby after she is born.
Tricare eligibility does not normally extend to grandchildren of service members. Tricare officials have said in the past that the only way that can happen is if the military sponsor/grandparent legally adopts the grandchild. However, some military family advocates argue that the Tricare operating regulations are vague on this point, and that a grandchild can be covered by Tricare if the military sponsor/grandparent assumes legal guardianship of the grandchild.
Tricare doesn’t make these kinds of eligibility determinations; only the military services may do that, through DEERS. Your father should contact DEERS at 800-538-9552 for more information and further guidance.
Write to Tricare Help, Times News Service, 6883 Commercial Drive, Springfield, VA 22159; or tricarehelp@military times.com. In email, include the word “Tricare” in the subject line and do not attach files. Get Tricare advice any time at www.militarytimes.com/tricarehelp.