Health insurance after a military divorce
A common question we hear from nonmilitary spouses going through a military divorce is: Can I keep Tricare?
Tricare is the Department of Defense's healthcare program designed specifically for members of the military, veterans and their families. It covers medical services, dental care and medication.
Tricare is a good program, but, like other medical insurance, it only covers the ex-spouses of servicemembers in limited circumstances. In order to be eligible to remain on a military spouse's insurance after divorce, there is a 20-year rule:
- The marriage must have lasted at least 20 years
- The servicemember must have served in the military for at least 20 years
- The military service and marriage must have overlapped for at least 20 years
Furthermore, if a nonmilitary spouse remarries, he or she is no longer eligible for Tricare coverage even if the subsequent marriage ends. Nonmilitary spouses can remain on Tricare for a certain period of time after a divorce, which covers the amount of time necessary to find other health insurance.
Children of servicemembers can continue to receive Tricare benefits for as long as they would have received those benefits if their parents had still been married.
Challenges facing military spouses in divorce
Military divorces can involve unique issues. There are procedural issues. For example, a military spouse on active duty can choose to halt divorce proceedings. There are location / forum challenges; the military spouse and nonmilitary spouse may reside in different states, even different countries, which can affect both the divorce and child custody / visitation decisions. There are even property division challenges, including specific rules for dividing military retirement benefits.
No matter what the challenge, a lawyer experienced in military divorce can help you understand your options and develop creative solutions unique to your divorce. Learn more by visiting our pages on military divorce.
Source: Military Times, "Can I keep Tricare if I divorce husband?" Oct. 12, 2012
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