TRICARE offers medical coverage for active duty personnel, retirees and their spouses, but what coverage options are available for children?
Biological and Adopted Children
According to TRICARE, unmarried biological and adopted children remain eligible for TRICARE up to the age of 21 or until they are 23 if they are full-time students and the parents provide at least half of their financial support to attend college or university. Biological and adopted children must be registered into DEERS as soon as possible after birth or adoption (even pre-adoptive children can be registered).
Stepchildren are covered by TRICARE whether they have been adopted or not. Provided the sponsor and mother or father of the stepchildren is legally married to one another, stepchildren have the same entitlement to TRICARE as biological children. If the marriage subsequently ends in divorce, stepchildren will lose their eligibility for TRICARE on the day the divorce is finalised.
However, if the stepchildren were adopted during the marriage, they do not automatically lose eligibility for TRICARE when the marriage ends. They will remain TRICARE eligible until the stepchildren turn 21 or at the age of 23 if they are full-time students relying on half of their financial support from their parents.
TRICARE states that the surviving children (biological, stepchildren or adopted children) of an active duty member who dies after serving more than 30 days on or after 7 October 2001 will continue to remain eligible for TRICARE as “transitional survivors”.
Transitional survivors will remain TRICARE-eligible until they lose eligibility by reaching the majority age limit, get married or become otherwise ineligible for continued TRICARE coverage. As far as their status as transitional survivors goes, surviving children whose sponsor died after 7 October 2001 will continue to receive TRICARE benefits as active duty family members. If the sponsor died before that date, surviving children will be treated as retiree family members.
Biological, stepchildren and adopted children who are registered in DEERS by their sponsor are eligible for TRICARE benefits until they lose eligibility due to their age, student status, marriage or some other reason. If children are not registered in DEERS, regardless of their status, they will not be entitled to TRICARE coverage.
TRICARE: Children. Biological and Stepchildren.