News | May 10, 2022

How Does TRICARE Change When You Retire from Active Duty?

By TRICARE Communications

Many active duty service members (ADSMs) may eventually retire from their branch of the uniformed services. If you’re an ADSM, are you prepared to make the transition to civilian life? If you retire, you and your family will still qualify for TRICARE. But, it’s important to note you must actively enroll into a TRICARE health plan if you want coverage for civilian care. Learn about the TRICARE health plans available to retirees and their family members now. This will get you ready to make the arrangements for ongoing health care coverage when it’s time.
 
“The date of your retirement counts as a Qualifying Life Event,” said Dr. Danita Hunter, chief of TRICARE Policy and Programs. “This gives you a 90-day window to enroll in a new TRICARE plan. If you don’t enroll in a health plan, you’re only eligible for care at a military hospital or clinic if space is available.”
 
What stays the same with your TRICARE coverage when you retire? Be sure to review the TRICARE Retiring from Active Duty Brochure. While you remain eligible to get care at a military hospital or clinic, you and your family have a lower priority for access than when you were on active duty. Capacity at military hospitals and clinics varies by location. You can still use the military pharmacy to fill your prescription drugs and use other pharmacy options through the TRICARE Pharmacy Program. Keep in mind, most retirees and their family members are required to fill certain maintenance drugs through TRICARE Pharmacy Home Delivery. Also, your TRICARE coverage goes with you when you move or travel.
 
So, what changes about TRICARE with your retirement? See some changes you should know below.
 
New Status
After retirement, your TRICARE status changes. First, you and each of your eligible family members will need to get a new Uniform Services ID card to reflect your retiree status. You’ll also need to update contact information for you and your family members in the Defense Enrollment Eligibility Reporting System (DEERS). Also, if your uniformed service doesn’t update your retired status in DEERS, you can’t reenroll in TRICARE.
 
If you qualify for premium-free Medicare Part A, you’ll need to sign up for Medicare Part B before you retire to keep TRICARE coverage.
 
TRICARE Health Plans
All ADSMs are enrolled in TRICARE Prime. Once you’re retired, you can reenroll in TRICARE Prime if you live in certain areas stateside called a Prime Service Area, where TRICARE Prime is offered. However, TRICARE doesn’t offer TRICARE Prime Remote, TRICARE Prime Overseas, and TRICARE Prime Remote Overseas to retirees and family members.
 
TRICARE health plans available to you and your family might include:  
Check out the TRICARE Plan Finder to learn more about which plans you may qualify for. You can also reach out to your TRICARE contractor with any enrollment questions. If you don’t enroll into a TRICARE health plan within 90 days of your retirement date, you may request a retroactive enrollment up to 12 months after your retirement date. You can learn more about this on the Qualifying Life Events page.
 
New Costs
Once enrolled into a TRICARE health plan, you’ll pay retiree costs. This includes ongoing enrollment fees or monthly premiums. All enrollment fees or monthly premiums must be paid retroactive to your retirement date for continuous coverage. Also, copayments and cost-shares will apply if you get care from a civilian TRICARE network provider. You can review and compare costs online or by downloading the TRICARE Costs and Fees Fact Sheet.
 
New Dental and Vision Plan Options
As a retiree, you no longer qualify for active duty dental benefits, and your family no longer qualifies for dental coverage through the TRICARE Dental Program. Retired service members and family members may purchase dental coverage from the Federal Employees Dental and Vision Insurance Program (FEDVIP), administered by the U.S. Office of Personnel Management. If you’re enrolled in a TRICARE health plan, you may purchase one of the vision plans offered by FEDVIP.
 
Where can you learn more about how your TRICARE changes when you retire from active duty? Go to the Retiring page on the TRICARE website.
 
Are you retiring from the National Guard or Reserve? Then you should read the TRICARE Retiring from the National Guard or Reserve Brochure. A key difference to remember is that you and your family don’t qualify for TRICARE by law until you reach age 60, even if you begin to draw retired pay earlier than age 60.
 
Remaining informed about the best health plan options for you and your family as you prepare for retirement is important to ensure there’s no interruption in your health care coverage.
 
Would you like the latest TRICARE news sent to you by email? Visit the TRICARE Subscriptions page today, and create your personalized profile to get benefit updates, news, and more.
 
TRICARE Choices in the United States Handbook

New to TRICARE? Handbook Helps You Learn Your He...

News
Jun. 30, 2022

If you’re curious about your TRICARE health plan options, the TRICARE Choices in the United States Handbook...
Read More
Group of students walking

Make Sure Your Child Takes the Right TRICARE Pla...

News
Jun. 28, 2022

For many parents, summer is a time of preparation, as they help their children get ready to move away to...
Read More
Physician with patient notes

Have TRICARE Prime? Point-of-Service Option May ...

News
Jun. 21, 2022

Do you have a TRICARE Prime plan? If so, your primary care manager (PCM) handles all your routine care.
Read More
Smiling people running

Continuous Glucose Monitors Now Available as a T...

News
Jun. 16, 2022

If you use a continuous glucose monitor (CGM), you’re in luck. TRICARE Pharmacy Program now covers two brands...
Read More
Mother playing with two children

Q&A: Understanding the Updated Autism Care Demon...

News
Jun. 14, 2022

Since 2014, the Comprehensive Autism Care Demonstration (ACD) has provided Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA)...
Read More
Person counts prescription pills in hand

How to Use TRICARE and Other Health Insurance at...

News
Jun. 02, 2022

Do you have other pharmacy coverage in addition to the TRICARE Pharmacy Program? Maybe you have coverage...
Read More
TRICARE Dental Options Fact Sheet

TRICARE Fact Sheet Helps You Find Your Right Den...

News
May. 31, 2022

Want to get the most out of your TRICARE dental coverage? Remember that dental coverage is separate from...
Read More
Service member administers COVID-19 booster

Get the Latest COVID-19 Info on Boosters and Tre...

News
May. 26, 2022

Are you continuing to protect yourself against COVID-19? Scientific evidence shows that the COVID-19 vaccines...
Read More

June 30, 2022

New to TRICARE? Handbook Helps You Learn Your Health Plan Options

If you’re curious about your TRICARE health plan options, the TRICARE Choices in the United States Handbook can help. Whether you’re on active duty, separating from service, retiring, or a family member, this all-in-one handbook provides an overview of your stateside health care options. It also describes your pharmacy, dental, and vision coverage options.

June 28, 2022

Make Sure Your Child Takes the Right TRICARE Plan to College

For many parents, summer is a time of preparation, as they help their children get ready to move away to college. For your child, it might be their first time away from home. Will they have health care if they get sick or injured? Fortunately, your child’s TRICARE coverage will stay with them in college if enrolled full-time and meeting eligibility requirements.

June 21, 2022

Have TRICARE Prime? Point-of-Service Option May Offer Some Flexibility

Do you have a TRICARE Prime plan? If so, your primary care manager (PCM) handles all your routine care.

June 16, 2022

Continuous Glucose Monitors Now Available as a TRICARE Pharmacy Benefit

If you use a continuous glucose monitor (CGM), you’re in luck. TRICARE Pharmacy Program now covers two brands of CGMs. These are the Abbott FreeStyle Libre 2 and the Dexcom G6. Previously, CGMs were only available as durable medical equipment (DME) under the TRICARE medical benefit. CGMs continue to be covered as a DME medical benefit, but they’re also now available as part of your pharmacy benefit.

June 14, 2022

Q&A: Understanding the Updated Autism Care Demonstration

Since 2014, the Comprehensive Autism Care Demonstration (ACD) has provided Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) services to TRICARE beneficiaries diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). The ACD has gone through many updates over the years. The goal of these updates is to provide the best possible care to cover clinically necessary and appropriate ABA services for ASD. Also, ABA services are just one of many TRICARE benefits available to children with ASD.

June 2, 2022

How to Use TRICARE and Other Health Insurance at the Pharmacy

Do you have other pharmacy coverage in addition to the TRICARE Pharmacy Program? Maybe you have coverage through your employer or a private plan that you’ve purchased. TRICARE calls this other health insurance (OHI). Some OHI includes a prescription drug benefit that can be used with TRICARE. Learning more about OHI and TRICARE pharmacy benefits can save you time and money.

May 31, 2022

TRICARE Fact Sheet Helps You Find Your Right Dental Plan

Want to get the most out of your TRICARE dental coverage? Remember that dental coverage is separate from TRICARE’s medical coverage. Your dental coverage is based on who you are. So, it’s important to know the difference between plans. To learn what each dental plan offers and whether you qualify, you can start with the TRICARE Dental Options Fact Sheet.

May 26, 2022

Get the Latest COVID-19 Info on Boosters and Treatment

Are you continuing to protect yourself against COVID-19? Scientific evidence shows that the COVID-19 vaccines and booster doses are effective in protecting people. They protect people both from infection and especially from severe outcomes of the virus. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is now recommending a second COVID-19 booster for people in certain groups, and a first booster for children ages 5 through 11.

May 23, 2022

TRICARE Answers Your Questions About Baby Formula

The shortage of baby formula is having an impact on millions of families. This includes military families living in the U.S. and overseas. It’s important you know what TRICARE does and doesn’t cover. Here are a few questions and answers about infant formula coverage to help.

May 17, 2022

TRICARE Active Duty Dental Program Helps Ensure Dental Readiness

As of May 1, the Active Duty Dental Program (ADDP) is available both in the continental United States (CONUS) and outside the continental United States (OCONUS). United Concordia Companies, Inc. (United Concordia) administers the ADDP benefits worldwide.

Learn More about COVID-19 and the COVID-19 Vaccine.