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!

32 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?

    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. 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.

  8. 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.

  9. 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.

    1. I don’t think any­thing needs to be added. You are auto­mat­i­cally under 20 20 20 plan. You are cov­ered for tri­care, com­mis­sary, priv­i­leges, etc. now I think if you remarry before you are 55, you loose those. After 55 they are yours for the remainer of your life. If you are not aware you can get your meds home deliv­ered from express scripts from tri­care. But you can also get them at base phar­macy. But a lot of times they do not carry everything.

  10. 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.

  11. 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.

    1. New wife will get it only get it as long as he is mar­ried to her.

  12. 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.

    1. I think she will fall under the 20 20 15 as long as you were mar­ried 15 of the active duty time. Then she only gets to keep I’d card for 1 yr.

  13. 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.

  14. 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.

  15. 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!

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

  17. if some­one who retired from the navy but com­mit­ted adul­tery before get­ting divorced, will they loose their retire­ment or any other ben­e­fits in the state of Virginia?

    1. Adul­tery is not a rea­son that some­one can lose retire­ment. It is how some­one can get dis­ci­plined. How­ever, it is a very tough case to prove. There has to been tan­gi­ble proof and it dis­rup­tive to the morale of the unit. Many, many, many it just isn’t worth it to the com­mand unless there is other behav­ior prob­lem, or the adul­tery was within the ser­vice mem­bers direct chain of command.

  18. I was mar­ried to a DAV/ Ret USAF for almost 23 years. I decided to leave him and the mar­ried for rea­sons I have endured through out the years. I had always taken care of him because of med­ical rea­sons and kept up with our finances. He told me that I would be able to keep Tri­care for a cer­tain amount of time after the divorce so I bought into it. That was three years ago. I have PTSD, depres­sion, ect that I have dealt with through­out the mar­riage. I felt that if I had stayed, I would have died because of his con­trol­ling behav­ior. Well, I saw my heart doc­tor, had tests done on my stom­ach, ect and now, two years later, I am in debit by 12 thou­sand dol­lars because I believed him. He had worked as a coun­selor in fam­ily sup­port in the AF so I put my trust in him. I now see that all he cared about was him­self and what he wanted.

  19. I am on dis­abil­ity. I an plan­ning on get­ting a divorce, should my hus­band ssup­port me because i am unable to work?

  20. 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.

  21. 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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