What to know about TRICARE if you’re divorcing a service member

On Behalf of | Mar 7, 2024 | Divorce

Health insurance often is far down the list of concerns for people who are divorcing. However, if you’ve been getting your health insurance through your spouse’s employer, it’s crucial to secure your post-divorce coverage.

Most private employer-provided insurance ends for an employee’s spouse once they sign the divorce decree. If your spouse is a current or retired member of the military, however, you can keep your TRICARE coverage. How long you can keep it depends on a number of factors. 

Two rules you should know

If the marriage lasted at least 20 years, your spouse’s “retirement creditable” service has been at least 20 years, and these two things overlap by at least 20 years, you fall under the 20/20/20 rule. That means you can continue to receive TRICARE coverage until and unless you remarry. 

If your marriage and your spouse’s service are both at least 20 years, but the overlap is between 15 and 20 years, that’s known as the 20/20/15 rule. If you fall under that, you can continue to receive TRICARE for just one year after your divorce is final.

What if you don’t qualify for coverage under these rules?

If that’s the case, you still have the option of getting three years of coverage under the Continued Health Care Benefit Program (CHCBP). It’s an alternative to TRICARE that gives people time to find other coverage if they lose their TRICARE.

What about your children’s coverage?

As with private insurers, divorce doesn’t affect a parent’s ability to keep their children on their TRICARE insurance until they age out. As part of your custody and support or other divorce agreements, you’ll need to determine whether your children will remain on your spouse’s TRICARE coverage or your coverage – regardless of what it is – and who will pay for it.

Regardless of which of these scenarios applies to you, you and your spouse will need to notify the appropriate office. They can also help you if you have questions. Once you know what you’ll be paying for health insurance, you can better determine your post-divorce financial situation.