Your eligibility for TRICARE after a military divorce

On behalf of South Tampa Law Group posted in military divorce on Friday, December 28, 2018.

In many ways, a military divorce is quite similar to a civilian divorce. You are still dealing with the trauma of a family breakup and the difficult decisions about what to do next. The differences involve the benefits to which you may be entitled if you are a civilian married to a member of the U.S. Armed Services. Some of these benefits require action prior to your divorce, and if you miss the opportunity to apply for them, you may lose them.

Depending on how long you have been married to your military spouse, your benefits may be significant and could include a portion of your spouse’s military retirement. Additionally, you want to be sure to understand your eligibility for health care coverage following the divorce. This may be especially important if you have children covered under your spouse’s policy.

How can I keep my coverage?

Recent changes in TRICARE insurance allow members of the military to take advantage of open enrollment for the first time. In November and December, beneficiaries of TRICARE may choose a plan for the upcoming year or change the type of enrollment they have. You may have appreciated this benefit, particularly the fact that it costs nothing if your spouse is active duty. During the open enrollment, your spouse may change the coverage or keep it if it is satisfactory for your family’s needs.

In the face of your divorce, however, you may wonder how this will affect you. While any children you and your spouse have together will remain eligible for coverage under TRICARE as long as they are your dependents, your coverage depends on several factors, including:

How long you and your spouse were married
How many years of creditable service toward military retirement your spouse has
How many of the years of your marriage overlapped with your spouse’s military service
Whether you purchase your own health plan through an employer
Whether you re-marry after the divorce

If you remain unmarried but were married to your military spouse for 20 years or more, you may be eligible to retain your TRICARE coverage. However, this does not happen automatically, and there are certain steps you must take to determine eligibility and obtain your own coverage separate from your former spouse.

For assistance with these and other issues, you would benefit from the representation of a Florida attorney who has experience with the complexities of military divorce.