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Military Divorce & TRICARE Child Health Care Benefits

Posted By Attorney Jim Cairns || 7-Sep-2012

An uncontested military divorces is unique and brings a whole new set of questions into the act of dissolving a marriage. One of the greatest concerns is continued health coverage. TRICARE is a civilian health benefits program for military personnel, retired military, dependents and eligible former spouses.

Keeping your Children Safe

Healthcare for children is at the top of the list of growing concerns for parents and even moreso during divorce. If you or your spouse have served in the U.S. military your child may still qualify for TRICARE health benefits. Unmarried biological and adopted children continue to remain eligible for TRICARE after a marriage is legally dissolved. A child can remain eligible until the age of 21 or the age of 23 for college students.

Stepchildren

In the case of stepchildren, they are covered under TRICARE until the date that the final divorce decree is granted by the divorce court. Stepchildren will remain covered under this program if the "sponsor" (the person who is serving in the military or has served in the U.S. military), has adopted the stepchild(ren). Stepchildren who lose their benefits due to divorce may be eligible for Continued Health Care Benefits Program. There is a charge for the program which averages slightly over $1,000 each quarter.

College Students

A college student can remain eligible for TRICARE coverage until the age of 23. If the child finishes school before his/her 23rd birthday then coverage will stop at the completion of the academic work. Criteria included for qualifying for TRICARE as a college student includes being financially dependent for at least 50 percent of the sponsor's support and having a full course of study at an approved institution. You can go online to the TRICARE website and enter your information to get a more accurate idea of your child's eligibility. You will be able to have a profile created telling you more about how your child may qualify. Also, note if your child signs up for a college's or university's health insurance plan TRICARE will become the secondary payer.

Become familiar with the rules and how you can continue your child's health coverage benefits after your simple, no-fault, uncontested military divorce. Often when families are making transitions due to a divorce they lose out on opportunities which may benefit them because they are not aware of how health care plans work. There are other health program options, including TRICARE Young Adult, and we advise you contact your TRICARE representative for further details and options.