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TRICARE coverage after divorce from a military spouse

On Behalf of | Jul 5, 2023 | Military Family Law |

Health insurance may not be near the top of your list of concerns as you prepare to divorce. If you’re married to an active or retired service member, you’re used to getting your insurance through TRICARE. So what happens to that coverage when your divorce is final?

That depends on:

  • The length of your marriage
  • The length of the service member’s “retirement creditable” service
  • The length of the overlap between the two

If those are long enough, you may qualify under one of two rules. Let’s look at those. 

The 20/20/20 rule 

If all of the three time periods listed above are at least 20 years, you can continue to receive health insurance coverage through TRICARE until and unless you choose to get coverage from another provider (for example, through your employer) or you remarry.

If you qualify under this rule, you can also keep your Department of Defense military ID card. That allows you to use base exchanges and commissaries.

The 20/20/15 rule 

If your marriage and your spouse’s service both lasted for at least 20 years, but the overlap between the two was less than 20 but more than 15 years, you can continue your TRICARE coverage for just one year following your final divorce decree.

If you aren’t eligible for continued health insurance under either of these two rules, you have the option of getting three years of coverage under the Continued Health Care Benefit Program (CHCBP). You’ll pay premiums for this coverage, but it’s designed to give people time to transition between TRICARE and other coverage.

What about your children?

Children of service members can remain on TRICARE until they turn 21 (23 if they’re in college). Parental divorce has no effect on their eligibility.

This is just a brief overview of TRICARE policies regarding spousal coverage after divorce. It’s wise to learn more and to do so before you need to make a decision about your coverage. Having experienced legal guidance can help you with this and other issues.