Although health insurance often isn’t at the top of divorcing people’s list of concerns, it should be if you are insured through your spouse’s employer. Those whose spouses work in the private sector typically have to find new insurance at the end of their marriage. However, if you’re divorcing a current or active member of the military, you may be able to continue to get coverage through TRICARE.
Your eligibility for health insurance through TRICARE – unless and until you get remarried — is based on how long you and your spouse were married and how long your spouse was a service member during your marriage.
The two rules under which you can qualify
If you qualify under one of these two rules, you can continue to get TRICARE coverage:
- 20/20/20: This means you were married for at least 20 years, your spouse served in the military for at least 20 years and you were married during at least 20 years of your spouse’s service.
- 20/20/15: This is the same as above, except that your marriage and your spouse’s service only need to have overlapped for 15 years.
These rules apply only to spouses. Children of service members can continue to be covered by TRICARE until they reach the maximum eligible age.
You need to take some steps to continue your coverage
Note that if you qualify for and want to continue TRICARE coverage, it’s not automatic. You need to notify the Defense Enrollment Eligibility Reporting System (DEERS) of your current information.
This is just a brief overview of what you need to know if you’ve been relying on TRICARE coverage. It’s wise to determine as soon as possible if you qualify to continue or if you need to get insurance through your own employer or elsewhere. Having legal guidance can help you as you make the myriad decisions required during a divorce.