FALLS CHURCH, Va. — Retiring from active duty, whether a medical retirement or a regular retirement, is a significant life event. You should know before you retire which TRICARE programs best suit your and your family’s needs.
Once you retire, you’ll only have 90 days from your retirement date to enroll in a TRICARE plan to continue TRICARE coverage. Otherwise, you will have no TRICARE purchased care coverage and will only be able to access care at military hospitals and clinics on a space-available basis.
If you retire from active duty and are under age 65, you can choose either TRICARE Prime (where available) or TRICARE Select (available worldwide). You should decide before you retire which one best suits your and your family’s needs.
You may reenroll in TRICARE Prime if you live in a Prime Service Area (PSA) or live within 100 miles of an available primary care manager and waive your drive-time access standards. You can see if you live in a PSA by using the TRICARE Plan Finder.
If you choose not to reenroll in TRICARE Prime or don’t live in a PSA, then you may enroll in TRICARE Select. With TRICARE Select, you can see any TRICARE-authorized provider you choose, but you save money when you use TRICARE network providers. Referrals are not required for most health care services, but some services require prior authorization from your TRICARE regional contractor.
If you live overseas, you may seek coverage under TRICARE Overseas Program (TOP) Select. TOP Prime and TOP Prime Remote options are not available after retirement.
If you or a family member are, or become, entitled to premium-free Medicare Part A after your retirement, you or they will lose TRICARE coverage unless enrolled in Medicare Part B. With Medicare parts A and B, you or they will have coverage under TRICARE For Life.
For more information on how to enroll in a TRICARE plan, visit Enroll or Purchase a Plan on the TRICARE website. Learn more about TRICARE plans during retirement in the Retiring from Active Duty Brochure.