Military spouses who are registered in DEERS by the active duty sponsor are entitled to TRICARE coverage throughout their marriage. However, do former military spouses retain TRICARE medical benefits following divorce?
Divorce Following the 20/20/20 Rule
According to TRICARE, former military spouses who fall under the 20/20/20 rule will continue to receive TRICARE medical benefits, if they remain single. To qualify for continued TRICARE medical coverage under the 20/20/20 rule, both parties must have been married for 20 years or more; the servicemember must have performed at least 20 years of service for retired pay and there must also have been an overlap of 20 years or more of the marriage and military service. Provided all three components are met, former military spouses will continue to receive TRICARE medical benefits.
Divorce Following the 20/20/15 Rule (Before 1 April 1985)
TRICARE states that former military spouses, who divorced before 1 April 1985, and who fall into the 20/20/15 rule, may be entitled to continued TRICARE coverage, provided they have not lost eligibility by remarrying. To qualify for continued TRICARE medical benefits, the couple must have been married for 20 years or more; the servicemember performed at least 20 years of service toward retirement and there was a 15-year overlap between the marriage and years of military service.
Divorce Following the 20/20/15 Rule (On or After 29 September 1988)
Former military spouses who were divorced on or after 29 September 1988 qualify for continued medical benefits for one year after divorce, if they fall into the 20/20/15 category. However, former spouses who do not meet the 20/20/15 rule do not qualify for any benefits after their divorce is final.
If your former spouse does not qualify for continued TRICARE benefits under the 20/20/20 or the 20/20/15 rules, you are responsible for deregistering your former spouse from DEERS. According to TRICARE, if you do not do this and your former spouse continues to receive TRICARE coverage, the Government will be required to get back the amount of money paid for treatment fraudulently credited to TRICARE by your former spouse. In order to de-register your former spouse from DEERS, stop by your local uniformed services ID card facility or go online to www.dmdc.osd.mil/rsl/ to complete the process.
Divorce often ends a former military spouse’s entitlement to continued TRICARE medical coverage, unless they fall into the 20/20/20 or 20/20/15 categories and they have not remarried. If you are a servicemember whose former spouse is no longer entitled to TRICARE medical coverage, it is your responsibility to de-register them from DEERS so that they do not attempt to receive continued coverage that they are no longer legally entitled to.
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