Divorce & TRICARE

Q: My divorce was final 2 days ago. Does my TRICARE for Life end on that day or do I have some time before I have to get med­ical insur­ance? I am aware that I am eli­gi­ble for TRICARE’s cobra pro­gram, but I am not work­ing and can’t afford it.

–Diana, Rock Hill, SC

A: Unless you meet spe­cific require­ments, you’ll lose TRICARE eli­gi­bil­ity effec­tive the date of your divorce. Based on how you posed the ques­tion, you prob­a­bly don’t qual­ify, but I’ll cover the basic rules for unre­mar­ried for­mer spouses. If they meet the “20–20-20” rule, they’ll be able eli­gi­ble for TRICARE. This means their spon­sor had 20 years cred­itable towards retire­ment, they were mar­ried to the same spon­sor for at least 20 years, and that the mar­riage and the cred­itable ser­vice over­lapped for 20 years. If they meet the first two “20’s” but only over­lapped for 15 years, then they’ll be eli­gi­ble for TRICARE for a year fol­low­ing the divorce. In either case, TRICARE eli­gi­bil­ity is per­ma­nently ter­mi­nated upon remarriage.

As you noted, you would be eli­gi­ble for cov­er­age under The Con­tin­ued Health Care Ben­e­fit Pro­gram (CHCBP). This premium-based plan can typ­i­cally pro­vide cov­er­age for up to 36 months. Beyond that, you’re on your own. Best of luck!

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26 responses to “Divorce & TRICARE”

  1. My hus­band who is retired AF for 23 years has decided he wants a divorce from me. We’ve been mar­ried for 10 years with no chil­dren. From what I’ve read it looks like I will be unable to stay on his Tri­care ben­e­fits. So my next ques­tion is what about the ID card?
    Thanks
    Lynn

    1. At 10 years you will loose all priv­i­leges, tri­care and ID card. You need a min­i­mum of 15 years (all 15 of those over­lap­ping his mil­i­tary ser­vice) to retain the ID cards and you need 20 years (all 20 over­lap­ping his mil­i­tary ser­vice) to retain Tricare.

      1. at 15 you don’t keep the id card, you loose all BX/PX rights also. you will have insur­ance under your own per­sonal num­ber and you can no longer use his/hers. and after one year it expires unless your decree say otherwise.

  2. Been in the same place as you with 14 year,however I left him. That said, I now receive a good por­tion of his mil­i­tary retire­ment. Since you were mar­ried 10 years you get a formula-calculated por­tion of his retire­ment once he begins receiv­ing it. Hav­ing this retire­ment ben­e­fit ver­biage added into your divorce decree will make it eas­ier when you file with DFAS once he retires. Hope this info helps. ;)

    1. gold dig­ger

  3. Do not worry about Cobra because is too expen­sive. There are other insur­ance wray cheaper out there. My ques­tion about the retire­ment is: Is it cal­cu­lated base on divorce day or sep­a­ra­tion day?

  4. does any­body know what the ex-spouse would have to do to get part of the pen­sion if it is not awarded in the divorce decree ?

    1. You can’t do any­thing. If it wasn’t in your decree when you got divorced there is NOTHING that you can do now. I’ve seen peo­ple try and spend a for­tune on lay­ers but those words in your decree that say FINAL are there for a reason.

  5. to whom it may con­cern,
    in the mat­ter of divorce i was told that the ex– hus­band ( and active duty mem­ber) has the right to denie the pen­sion — por­tion to the ex-spouse and put that toward a col­lege fund for the chil­dren. I would l ike to know if that is true or if both par­ties have to agree with that?

  6. My hus­band and I were mar­ried for 32 years and are sep­a­rated now because of him cheat­ing. My ques­tion is what am I enti­tled to? He retired after 25 years of ser­vice. I was with him 12 1/2 years. Don’t I get some­thing for sup­port­ing him as an officer.

  7. Man­age­r­ial finance is the branch of finance that con­cerns itself with the man­age­r­ial sig­nif­i­cance of finance tech­niques. It is focused on assess­ment rather than technique.

  8. My mom and dad are get­ting a divorce he was in the Army for 21 years she had been mar­ried to him all the years he was in the Army. He is recievig 100% dis­abil­ity he has a large house and 4 mobile homes that he rents out all of which is paid in full. He also has 10 acreas of land. He wants a divroce but tells my mother that she is not enti­tled to any of it because he is 100% dis­able and every­thing that has been bought has come from him dis­abil­ity money. Is this true? We live in Texas its a com­mu­nity prop­erty state. Please help. He lawyer didnt seem to know any­thing about mil­i­tary benifits or if she is or isnt enti­tled to any­thing. He also has sev­eral vehi­cle but he did not allow her to take any­thing at all.

    1. Ditch the lawyer and hire one famil­iar with mil­i­tary law. If the prop­er­ties were bought dur­ing their mar­riage, they are divis­i­ble (or a judge can force them to be sold and the pro­ceeds split), and the rents count towards his monthly income, regard­less of how he paid for them. Any 401ks, Thrift Sav­ings Plans, bank accounts, vehi­cles, fur­ni­ture etc are all also divisible.

      She won’t be enti­tled to divi­sion of monthly dis­abil­ity pay that’s pro­tected by fed­eral law, how­ever she will be able to go after what­ever por­tion of his monthly pay is com­ing from retire­ment (and there should be some). She needs to get rid of the lawyer she has now and find one that is par­tic­u­larly famil­iar with mil­i­tary divorces, oth­er­wise she will end up get­ting screwed.

  9. I was mar­ried for 18 years, all over­lap­ping his mil­i­tary time. I was awarded 50 % allowed por­tion of pen­sion and also ben­e­fits and insur­ance but no one can tell me how I can get the ben­e­fits or insur­ance. Also, my exspouse told me if I remarry I will lose my half of the pen­sion which was awarded as part of our aquired prop­erty and not alimony? Is this true? He said that he is free to marry at any­time, is he just telling me this?

    1. you aren’t going to get med­ical insur­ance since you weren’t mar­ried 20 years, all over­lap­ping mil­i­tary ser­vice, you may keep com­mis­sary priv­i­leges. So a judge can award it all he wants, but if you’re not enti­tled to it you prob­a­bly aren’t going to get it unless it states he is to pay X amount for insur­ance (COBRA) a month. Keep in mind that if he pays for the insur­ance that’s usu­ally a dol­lar for dol­lar reduc­tion in cash pay­ments to you and after a year (I think) your eli­gi­bil­ity for COBRA runs out any­way so you are on your own to pay for pre­mi­ums at that point.

  10. Can any­one please tell me what needs to be added to divorce papers to retain my tri­care. I was mar­ried to my hus­band the whole 20 years he was in ser­vice. I just want to make sure the papers are worded correctly.

  11. my hus­band have been mar­ried 3 years but sep­a­rated for 1. he com­mit­ted adul­tery and there was domes­tic viloence in the mar­riage that landed him in jail but they only gave him pro­ba­tion and he have to pay fine and fees for ONLY 1 year and he pos­si­bly have a child on the way his unit knows every­thing that has hap­pened in the mar­riage, but they didnt do any­thing to him. they treayed me like i was noth­ing sev­eral times i’ve had to con­tact JAG bout spousal sup­port since we have been sep­a­rated and now i get it but i am cur­rently dis­abled and nei­ther one of us have filed for a divorce. i am try­ing to find out when we get a divorce will i be able to keep my tri­care care being that i am dis­abled or do i loose every­thing. He’s sta­tioned at Fort Hood, Tx so what are the laws for a spouse thats dis­abled but is about to divorce the ser­vice mem­ber. btw i have relo­cated to Alabama so do every­thing go away or do i get to kepp it for a cer­tain amount of time?

    1. With­out a court order he doesn’t owe you spousal sup­port nor can JAG or his com­mand order him to pay any­thing but the dif­fer­ence between BAH and BAH diff (about 2–300 bucks). Once you are divorced you loose all ben­e­fits includ­ing Tri­care. Hav­ing been mar­ried only three years you prob­a­bly won’t get spousal sup­port in the divorce either. The ONLY way you can keep Tri­care in a divorce is if you have been mar­ried 20 years with ALL 20 years over­lap­ping his active duty ser­vice. Your dis­abil­ity has no bear­ing on main­tain­ing ben­e­fits. How­ever, with Oba­macare get­ting passed you can no longer be passed over for pri­vate insur­ance sim­ply due to your pre exist­ing conditions.

  12. I am await­ing the final decree and was mar­ried for 19 years. I get 50% of his pen­sion he has done his 20 years but in Korea on stop loss. Liv­ing on $750 a month. In remis­sion from APL leukemia. Have birth defects in an elec­tric wheel­chair. I can­not pay for Cobra what other things can I qual­ify for Although I am dis­able I have been denied SSI as I am British and not worked in USA long enough we have an 18 year old daugh­ter and he has found a younger woman want­ing to know if she will get full med­ical cov­er­age for life if they get mar­ried in June and he gets out in Novem­ber. so angry about this.

  13. I divorced my ex-wife after I retired from the Army with 17yrs of ser­vice a few years ago. We were mar­ried the entire time I was in the ser­vice. I would like to help her get TRICARE as she has med­ical prob­lems. I retired under the early retire­ment pro­gram put into place after the first Per­sian Gulf war. Did the law include rules allow­ing spouses to receive TRICARE if the were mar­ried under these con­di­tions? Since it is an early retire­ment and not the full 20 yrs I am hop­ing she qual­i­fies for full TRICARE for the rest of her life.

  14. My wife and I were mar­ried 17 years of my 20 years in the Navy and a total of 33 years in all. She’s been on TRICARE prime since 1985. Now that we will get­ting a divorce I would like to know how I can get her med­ical either Tri­care or CHCBP.

  15. I been mar­ried for 17years my hus­band is 23 years in the army. He cheat on me now he ask me for a divorce.. I want to report to his coman­der but some­body toldme if I do that I can loose my ben­e­fits and so my kids.. I have two kids one on the way I’m 16 weeks preg­nat.. Shoul I report him.

  16. I just got divorced but I am not a lawyer. how­ever my lawyer knew all the rules. and I have them all also. I was mar­ried for 23 years with 15 mil­i­tary over­lap. I tried to help my wife but wen she started lis­ten­ing t her friends(gave her bad info) I went and filed for divorce. When a man or woman believe tier friends and kids over their spouse it is time to go. No abuse or any­thing but, she just did not lis­ten to me. Now she out like chuck and stuck. No sym­pa­thy for her!

  17. If my wife com­mit­ted adul­tery is she enti­tled to my pen­sion? Please advise
    We have not been liv­ing together for the past 10 years

  18. If he was released due to med­ical issues he’s cov­ered for all of those issues under the VA sys­tem, if he retired he will have access to Tri­care upon reach­ing a cer­tain age. If he was chap­tered out for mis­con­duct he will have lit­tle access to any benefits.

  19. I have been mar­ried for 31 years (12 1/2 while in the mil­i­tary) to my hus­band. We are sep­a­rated because of him cheat­ing again. Why am I not eli­gi­ble to at least some use of my ID card. I was a home­maker and while he was in the mil­i­tary mak­ing his advance­ment. Why am I not enti­tled to some of those ben­e­fits. He also chose not to do the SBP for me because he promised he would always be there.

    If you know any­thing, any­one that I might talk to you, please let me know.

    Thank you!!!

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