An official website of the United States government
Here's how you know
A .mil website belongs to an official U.S. Department of Defense organization in the United States.
A lock (lock ) or https:// means you’ve safely connected to the .mil website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.

News | March 25, 2021

I’m Getting Divorced. What Happens to My TRICARE Benefit?

By TRICARE Communications

If you’re getting divorced, the future may seem uncertain. One question in your mind may be whether you’ll still be eligible for TRICARE. The answer depends on your sponsor status, length of your marriage, and other factors. Read more so you and your loved ones understand your TRICARE health care options after divorce.
 
“After a divorce, the sponsor and both the sponsor’s biological and the sponsor’s adopted children remain eligible for TRICARE,” said Mark Ellis, chief of the Policy Programs Section of the TRICARE Health Plan at the Defense Health Agency. “The former spouse only remains eligible for TRICARE if he or she meets certain criteria, and any stepchildren of the sponsor which the sponsor did not adopt lose eligibility.”
 
I’m the sponsor. What do I do?
After the divorce is final, you must bring a certified copy of the divorce decree or annulment to a local ID card office. This way, information in the Defense Enrollment Eligibility System (DEERS) can be updated.
 
Because getting divorced is a TRICARE Qualifying Life Event (QLE), you and your eligible children may make changes to your TRICARE Prime or TRICARE Select health plans. You have 90 days after the divorce to do so, if you choose to do so. Check out the TRICARE Qualifying Life Events Fact Sheet to learn more about QLEs. And you can learn more about plan options with the TRICARE Plans Overview.
 
I’m the former spouse. How do I know if I remain eligible?
You remain eligible for TRICARE only if you meet certain criteria. Your sponsor’s military Service Component is responsible for determining your continuing eligibility. If you and your sponsor are separated or living apart, but not divorced, you keep TRICARE benefits. After a divorce, you may be eligible for TRICARE coverage if you fit into one of the following scenarios:
  • 20/20/20: Under the 20/20/20 rule, you keep TRICARE health care benefits for as long as you remain eligible if:
    • You were married to the service member for at least 20 years,
    • The service member served in the armed forces for at least 20 years, and
    • The marriage and the period of service overlapped for at least 20 years.
  • 20/20/15: Under the 20/20/15 rule, you keep TRICARE health care benefits for one year if:
    • You were married to the service member for at least 20 years,
    • The service member served in the armed forces for at least 20 years, and
    • The marriage and the period of service overlapped for at least 15 years.
 
If you don’t meet these criteria, you stay eligible up until the day the divorce is final. If the sponsor didn’t adopt his or her stepchildren, they also lose eligibility once the divorce is final.
 
I’m a former spouse who is still eligible based on criteria above. What do I do next?
To establish eligibility, bring your marriage certificate, divorce decree, and proof of service (DD Form 214 or Statement of Service from the applicable Service Personnel Component) to your local ID card office.
 
“If you meet the former spouse requirements, you’ll be listed in DEERS under your own Social Security number or Department of Defense Benefits Number, not your sponsor’s,” said Ellis.
 
When you qualify for TRICARE as a former spouse, you have the same benefits as a retired family member, and your health plan options depend on where you live. Keep in mind, you’ll lose TRICARE benefits if you remarry or enroll in an employer-sponsored health plan.  

I’m the former spouse and don’t qualify to keep TRICARE. What are my options?
If you don’t meet the requirements, you stay eligible up until the day the divorce is final. After that, you still have health care options. You may:
  • Purchase temporary transitional coverage through the Continued Health Care Benefit Program (CHCBP). You must apply for CHCBP within 60 days from the date of the divorce. CHCBP coverage isn’t available to you if your sponsor served in NATO or Partners for Peace. Certain former spouses who haven’t remarried before age 55 may qualify for an unlimited duration of coverage.
  • Search the Health Insurance Marketplace to find a civilian health plan or check eligibility for Medicaid in your state.
  • Get coverage through your employer, school, or university.
 
Continuing Eligibility for Children
The sponsor’s biological and adopted children remain eligible for TRICARE after divorce. However, the sponsor’s children will lose eligibility when they turn age 21 (or 23 if in college), marry, or serve on active duty. Once no longer eligible due to age, children up to the age of 26 may qualify to purchase TRICARE Young Adult. If the sponsor didn’t adopt his or her stepchildren, they lose eligibility once the divorce is final. In that case, you may want to explore other health care coverage options available through an employer or the Health Insurance Marketplace.
 
Going through a divorce is hard. But you have health plan options for the road ahead. Learn more about TRICARE coverage after divorce.
U.S. Air Force Senior Airman Connor Colassaco, 52nd Medical Group pharmacy vault custodian, reaches for medication at Spangdahlem Air Base, Germany, Dec. 14, 2022. Members of the pharmacy count and label all controlled medication to ensure it is properly inventoried. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Jessica Sanchez-Chen)

Getting TRICARE Prescriptions Overseas

News
Nov. 16, 2023

No matter where you live or travel, it’s important to have the prescription drugs you need. To help make this...
Read More
TRICARE Open Season 2023, November 13-December 12, 2023

TRICARE Open Season Is Here: Explore Your Health...

News
Nov. 13, 2023

TRICARE Open Season begins Nov. 13. For many TRICARE beneficiaries, this is your chance to enroll in a health...
Read More
Pharmacist in military pharmacy

Find Out What Your TRICARE Pharmacy Costs Will B...

News
Nov. 09, 2023

Do you get prescription drugs through the TRICARE Pharmacy Program? Copayments for most beneficiaries are...
Read More
Join us for a TRICARE Facebook Live on open season on Nov. 16 at 2 p.m. ET. For more information, visit www.facebook.com/tricare

Learn About TRICARE Open Season During Nov. 16 F...

News
Nov. 08, 2023

Do you need help understanding your health plan options during TRICARE Open Season? Join us for a TRICARE...
Read More
Airman hugging kids.

Know Your 2024 TRICARE Health Plan Costs

News
Nov. 07, 2023

With a new year fast approaching, you may see changes to your TRICARE health plan costs starting on Jan. 1,...
Read More
Service member gets flu shot from other service member.

Protect Your Family With Flu, COVID-19, and RSV ...

News
Nov. 02, 2023

Are you preparing to spend time with friends and family this holiday season? Now is a good time to make sure...
Read More
TRICARE liaison stands in front of American flag.

Patient Advocates and Beneficiary Counseling and...

News
Oct. 24, 2023

You probably received medical care in a military hospital or clinic before. But did you know these facilities...
Read More
TRICARE Open Season Webinar Oct. 26, 1-2pm ET

Choosing Between TRICARE Prime and TRICARE Select

News
Oct. 12, 2023

Want to learn more about choosing between TRICARE Prime and TRICARE Select during TRICARE Open Season? Then...
Read More

Nov. 16, 2023

Getting TRICARE Prescriptions Overseas

No matter where you live or travel, it’s important to have the prescription drugs you need. To help make this possible, your TRICARE pharmacy benefit is available worldwide. But overseas, your pharmacy options may vary.

Nov. 13, 2023

TRICARE Open Season Is Here: Explore Your Health Plan Options

TRICARE Open Season begins Nov. 13. For many TRICARE beneficiaries, this is your chance to enroll in a health plan or change health plans for coverage that starts Jan. 1, 2024. You can make these changes through Tuesday, Dec. 12.

Nov. 9, 2023

Find Out What Your TRICARE Pharmacy Costs Will Be In 2024

Do you get prescription drugs through the TRICARE Pharmacy Program? Copayments for most beneficiaries are changing. The new costs will start Jan. 1, 2024.

Nov. 8, 2023

Learn About TRICARE Open Season During Nov. 16 Facebook Event

Do you need help understanding your health plan options during TRICARE Open Season? Join us for a TRICARE Facebook Live event on Nov. 16 at 2 p.m. ET.

Nov. 7, 2023

Know Your 2024 TRICARE Health Plan Costs

With a new year fast approaching, you may see changes to your TRICARE health plan costs starting on Jan. 1, 2024. These costs may include enrollment fees, premiums, cost-shares, and copayments.

Nov. 2, 2023

Protect Your Family With Flu, COVID-19, and RSV Vaccines

Are you preparing to spend time with friends and family this holiday season? Now is a good time to make sure you and your loved ones are up to date with COVID-19, flu, and RSV vaccines. TRICARE covers these vaccines based on Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommendations.

Oct. 24, 2023

Patient Advocates and Beneficiary Counseling and Assistance Coordinators Help You Understand Your Health Care Benefit

You probably received medical care in a military hospital or clinic before. But did you know these facilities come with a support staff of people who can help you navigate the health care process? These include patient advocates and Beneficiary Counseling and Assistance Coordinators (BCACs). You can find them at most military hospitals and clinics around the world.

Oct. 12, 2023

Choosing Between TRICARE Prime and TRICARE Select

Want to learn more about choosing between TRICARE Prime and TRICARE Select during TRICARE Open Season? Then join us for “Choosing Between Prime and TRICARE Select” webinar on Oct. 26 at 1 p.m. ET to learn more about this year’s open season.

Oct. 2, 2023

U.S. Military Departments Implement Brandon Act to Improve Mental Health Support

The three military departments have officially implemented phase one of the Brandon Act with their own policies and procedures to initiate support to service members’ request for mental health assistance. The Brandon Act was signed into law by President Biden on Dec. 27, 2021, as part of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2022. The former Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness, Gilbert R. Cisneros Jr., signed a policy on May 5, 2023, to initiate the act within the Department of Defense.

Sept. 26, 2023

TRICARE Dental Program Is Your Ally in the Fight Against Oral Cancer

According to the National Institutes of Health, health care providers diagnose about 54,000 new cases of oral cancer per year in the United States. As with all types of cancer, education and early detection are critical. Learn how to spot the warning signs of oral cancer before the disease can spread.