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What civilian spouses should know about post-divorce TRICARE

On Behalf of | Jan 24, 2023 | Uncontested Divorce

Health insurance often isn’t at the top of anyone’s list when they’re preparing to divorce. However, most spouses who get your health insurance through their soon-to-be-ex’s employer plan or other insurer will no longer have coverage once the divorce is final.

Those who are married to current or retired military personnel, however, may be able to keep their TRICARE coverage, even as a civilian, after the divorce. It depends on the length of the marriage and the servicemember’s length of “creditable” service (towards their retirement pay). Let’s take a brief look at how it works.

The 20/20/20 rule and the 20/20/15 rule

If your military spouse has so far served (or in the past served) for a minimum of 20 consecutive years of creditable service during your marriage (which means the marriage must have lasted for at least 20 years), you are eligible to continue receiving coverage with your former spouse as your sponsor. That includes active duty and reserve service. This is known as the 20/20/20 rule.

If your marriage and your spouse’s service overlapped by at least 15 years, you are still eligible to keep your TRICARE coverage for one year following the signing of your divorce decree. That’s called the 20/20/15 rule.

Typically, you can remain on TRICARE unless or until you remarry or obtain your own employer-sponsored coverage. Note that after divorce, a parent can keep their children on their health insurance. That goes for TRICARE as well.

Determining your options if you don’t qualify for continued TRICARE

If you don’t qualify to continue on TRICARE, you’ll need to explore other options so that you don’t end up uninsured. If you don’t have access to an employer-sponsored plan, you can obtain coverage through an Affordable Care Act (ACA) plan at Healthcare.gov.

It’s important to have an idea of what you’ll be spending on medical care and insurance after your divorce – particularly if you have a medical condition that requires on-going treatment. This can help you better work towards the property division and support agreements you need.

It may seem like there’s no end to the issues you have to consider as you divorce. Having experienced legal guidance can help you maneuver through them so that you reach the best possible outcome.