What happens to my TRICARE benefit after divorce?

Options available for sponsor and former spouse

By TRICARE Communications on April 11, 2021

If you're getting divorced, the future may seem uncertain. One question in your mind may be whether you'll still be eligible for TRICARE. The answer depends on your sponsor status, length of your marriage, and other factors.

"After a divorce, the sponsor and both the sponsor's biological and the sponsor's adopted children remain eligible for TRICARE," said Mark Ellis, chief of the Policy Programs Section of the TRICARE Health Plan at the Defense Health Agency. "The former spouse only remains eligible for TRICARE if he or she meets certain criteria, and any stepchildren of the sponsor which the sponsor did not adopt lose eligibility."
I'm the sponsor. What do I do?
After the divorce is final, you must bring a certified copy of the divorce decree or annulment to a local ID card office. This way, information in the Defense Enrollment Eligibility System (DEERS) can be updated.
Because getting divorced is a TRICARE Qualifying Life Event (QLE), you and your eligible children may make changes to your TRICARE Prime or TRICARE Select health plans. You have 90 days after the divorce to do so, if you choose to do so. Check out the TRICARE Qualifying Life Events Fact Sheet to learn more about QLEs. And you can learn more about plan options with the TRICARE Plans Overview.
I'm the former spouse. How do I know if I remain eligible?
You remain eligible for TRICARE only if you meet certain criteria. Your sponsor's military Service Component is responsible for determining your continuing eligibility. If you and your sponsor are separated or living apart, but not divorced, you keep TRICARE benefits. After a divorce, you may be eligible for TRICARE coverage if you fit into one of the following scenarios:

If you don't meet these criteria, you stay eligible up until the day the divorce is final. If the sponsor didn't adopt his or her stepchildren, they also lose eligibility once the divorce is final.
I'm a former spouse who is still eligible based on criteria above. What do I do next?
To establish eligibility, bring your marriage certificate, divorce decree, and proof of service (DD Form 214 or Statement of Service from the applicable Service Personnel Component) to your local ID card office.
"If you meet the former spouse requirements, you'll be listed in DEERS under your own Social Security number or Department of Defense Benefits Number, not your sponsor's," said Ellis.
When you qualify for TRICARE as a former spouse, you have the same benefits as a retired family member, and your health plan options depend on where you live. Keep in mind, you'll lose TRICARE benefits if you remarry or enroll in an employer-sponsored health plan.  

I'm the former spouse and don't qualify to keep TRICARE. What are my options?
If you don't meet the requirements, you stay eligible up until the day the divorce is final. After that, you still have health care options. You may:

Learn more about TRICARE coverage after divorce at www.tricare.mil/divorce.