Dependent children of active duty personnel or retirees remain eligible for TRICARE up until the age of 21. What TRICARE options do college students have after the age of 21?
Extending TRICARE Coverage Past 21
If you wish to extend your child’s TRICARE coverage past the age of 21, you and your child must all meet certain basic criteria. First, your child must be registered in an accredited institute of higher education on a full-time basis. Second, you must be able to prove that you are providing at least 50 percent of your child’s financial support for college or university.
What to Do Next
Provided you and your child meet the basic criteria, you can then take steps to extend TRICARE coverage past your child’s 21st birthday. Call the nearest uniformed services ID card issuing facility. A representative will inform you of the required documentation you will need to bring along to update DEERS, which will then enable you to extend your child’s TRICARE coverage.
When Does TRICARE Coverage End?
Full-time students who have extended TRICARE coverage past their 21st birthday can continue to enjoy TRICARE coverage until their 23rd birthday or until they graduate from college or university, whichever comes first. For example, if your child turns 23 on 30 April, but their graduation date is not until the middle of May, their TRICARE coverage ends at midnight on 29 (30) April.
TRICARE Options: TRICARE Prime
Once you have updated DEERS and your child is registered in TRICARE, there are a number of options to choose from. If your child will be going to university in a TRICARE Prime Service Area, they will be eligible to register for TRICARE Prime. Active duty family members are not required to pay an enrolment fee; nor are they charged for co-payments whenever they obtain health care from the Military Treatment Facility (MTF) or when accessing care through the TRICARE Prime network of civilian providers. Retirees pay an annual fee each year and must pay it on time to ensure that health care coverage is not interrupted.
TRICARE Options: TRICARE Extra
Students also have access to TRICARE Extra, which includes a 15 percent cost-share after the deductible has been met for parents who are active duty, or 20 percent cost-share after the deductible has been met for retiree parents.
TRICARE Options: TRICARE Standard
Another option for students who will be living outside the TRICARE Prime service area is TRICARE Standard. Students can choose any non-network TRICARE authorised provider. This option requires a 20 percent cost-share for active duty parents or 25 percent for retiree parents after the deductible has been met. In addition, students may also have to pay 15 percent on top of the TRICARE allowable charge for services when they file a claim with TRICARE.
In order to qualify for continued TRICARE coverage past the age of 21, students must be registered full-time in an accredited college or university and their parents must prove they are supporting them with at least half of their financial expenses.
TRICARE Choices for College Students