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Tricare For Life

Who is Eligible?

Uniformed service retirees who served at least 20 years in the military (including retired members of the National Guard and the reserves), their family members and survivors, and some former spouses (who have not remarried) are eligible for expanded medical coverage through TRICARE for Life (TFL) and the TRICARE Senior Pharmacy Program  (TSPP).

Medicare Enrollment

In order to be eligible for TFL, you must be eligible for Medicare Part A and enrolled in Medicare Part B.  You may not purchase Part A.  If you buy into Part A, you will remain in the Tricare Standard Program.

If you do not have Part B, and you are just becoming eligible for Medicare, you must ensure that you have signed up with Social Security and indicated that you want Part B.  Retirees who elected not to take Medicare Part B when they first became eligible can sign up through their local Social Security office during the Medicare general enrollment period (January 1 through March 31 of any year); their Medicare Part B coverage will start the July of the year they sign up.

 It is important to note that retirees may be charged a penalty (10 percent per year) for enrolling past their initial enrollment period.  Call the Social Security Administration at 1 (800) 772-1213 for more information about enrollment in Part B and any penalties that might apply.

Defense Eligibility Enrollment Reporting Systems (DEERS) Registration

To be eligible for the new Tricare programs, military retirees must be registered in the DEERS, and their information must be current.  You can update DEERS information in one of the following ways:

  • Make changes on the Web site: www.tricare.osd.mil/DEERSAddress/

  • Fax changes to Defense Manpower Data Center Support Office, Attn:  COA, fax number 1 (831) 655-8317

  • Mail changes to:  Defense Manpower Data Center Support Office, Attn:  TRICARE for Life, 400 Gigling Road, Seaside, CA  93955-6771
  • Call the toll-free number at 1 (800) 538-9552
How Do You Enroll?

Enrollment in TFL and the TSPP is automatic for individuals who meet all the eligibility criteria listed above and have a military ID.  There is no application process, and there are no fees for enrollment.

What Do the New Tricare Programs Cover?  And How much Do They Cost?

The new TRICARE programs essentially operate like a supplemental insurance policy, covering many Medicare deductibles and co-payments as well as additional hospital, inpatient mental health care and skilled nursing facility care.  They also offer additional services such as prescription drug coverage and health-care services received outside the United States.

There are no premiums for the Tricare programs although beneficiaries must still continue to pay their Medicare Part B premiums.  Tricare will cover the Medicare Part B deductible.

Does your doctor need to be approved as a Tricare provider?

No.  Any doctor who is a Medicare-approved provider will also be deemed an authorized Tricare provider.  The doctor does not accept Medicare assignment, Tricare will pay up to 15 percent above the Medicare-allowed amount.

How do these programs work with Medicare and other health insurance coverage?

TRICARE is a secondary payer to Medicare under most circumstances.  This means that Medicare pays first, and then Tricare will pay most other costs, including co-payments and deductibles, for the benefits that it covers.  If there is some onther type of health insurance in addition to Medicare and Tricare then the order of payment may vary.

For more information about your benefits please call:

TRICARE for Life:  1-866-773-0404

TRICARE Pharmacy Program:  1-877-363-1303

Website:  http://www.tricare.mil