Post military divorce health care benefits

Q: If you are mar­ried for 20 years and divorced, can the ex-spouse still receive health ben­e­fits such as going on base for doc­tor appoint­ments and med­i­cine if Tri­care Prime is still in force? How will the ex-spouse renew the mil­i­tary ID card? Does the divorce decree need to stip­u­late these con­di­tions? The pri­mary is retired after 20 years of active duty.

–Kristina, Cheyenne, Wyo.

A: The answer could be yes, but it’s all in the num­bers. In this case the num­bers we’re con­sid­er­ing are the ser­vice member’s years of cred­itable ser­vice, years of mar­riage, and years the mar­riage over­lapped the ser­vice. If the ser­vice mem­ber has 20 years of ser­vice (in your case, yes), the mar­riage lasted 20 years (again, yes), and the 20-years of mar­riage were all dur­ing the ser­vice (not sure about that one) then the ex-spouse would be enti­tled to health care benefits-regardless of what’s in the divorce decree (unlike dis­tri­b­u­tion of retire­ment ben­e­fits, the divorce decree does not impact Tri­care eligibility).

Here’s a link to the spe­cific rules. As you’ll see if there was at least 15 years of over­lap­ping mar­riage and ser­vice, the ex-spouse would be enti­tled to mil­i­tary health­care ben­e­fits for at least a one-year period depend­ing on the date of the divorce. Finally, to be eli­gi­ble for this cov­er­age the ex-spouse can­not remarry nor be cov­ered by employer-sponsored health insur­ance. You’ll have to make sure your infor­ma­tion is updated in the Defense Enroll­ment Eli­gi­bil­ity Report­ing Sys­tem (DEERS) and get a new mil­i­tary ID card (using your Social Secu­rity num­ber) on base. To do this, you’ll need your mar­riage cer­tifi­cate, divorce decree, and the ser­vice member’s DD Form 214. Good luck.

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4 responses to “Post military divorce health care benefits”

  1. Hi! I was just won­der­ing about this com­ment. I have been mar­ried to my hus­band for over 20 years but he was in active duty for under that. We are going through a very messy divorce right now and I was won­der­ing if I do get to keep any of the mil­i­tary benefits?

  2. My hus­band was still on active duty in the U.S. Navy when we got mar­ried and six months after we got mar­ried, he retired from the U.S. N after serv­ing for 20 years. We have been mar­ried for 23 years and are now in the process of divorce. Can I still con­tinue to get health ben­e­fits as his ex-spouse after hav­ing been mar­ried to him for 23 years?

    1. no you can­not, you have to be mar­ried 20 years (check) and all of those 20 years he would have over­lap his active duty years for you to retain Tri­care coverage

  3. If some­one mar­ried a retired military-he served 20 yr & retired in1981-and they were only mar­ried 3 yrs and he dies does she get any benefits-medical, com­mis­sary, etc?

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