This blog is the most recent in a series helping members of the Coast Guard family understand how to use their TRICARE benefits. The blog series will continue every Monday, right here on Coast Guard All Hands.
Written by Lt. William Perry
After the death of a sponsor, TRICARE benefits continue automatically as long as your information in the Defense Enrollment Eligibility Reporting System (DEERS) is current and you are a spouse, not remarried or a surviving unmarried child under 21 years old (or 23 if enrolled full time in an approved educational program or if the sponsor provided over 50 percent of the financial support). The type, length and costs of these benefits vary depending on your sponsor’s military status at the time death.
Survivors of Active Duty Service Members
If your sponsor died while serving on active duty for a period of more than 30 consecutive days (including Coast Guard Reserve members), you remain eligible as a transitional survivor for three years, and have the same benefits and costs as an active duty family member (ADFM).
After three years, your survivor benefits are the same as retiree family members, TRICARE Prime, if available in your area, TRICARE Standard, TRICARE Extra and TRICARE Overseas Program (TOP) Standard. If you do not enroll in TRICARE Prime, coverage automatically continues under TRICARE Standard. For cost details, visit www.tricare.mil/costs.
Surviving children keep their TRICARE benefits as ADFMs until they age out or marry. At this point the surviving child may qualify to continue TRICARE coverage until age 26 by purchasing a TRICARE Young Adult (TYA) program option. For more information on TYA, visit www.tricare.mil/tya.
Survivors of Coast Guard Reserve Members
1) Sponsor Active 30 Days or Less
If your sponsor dies while serving on active duty for 30 days or less family members remain eligible as survivors and have retiree benefits and costs.
2) Non-Activated Sponsor
If you are a survivor of a non-activated Coast Guard Reserve member who had TRICARE Reserve Select (TRS) or Transitional Assistance Management Program (TAMP) coverage at the time of his or her death, you may qualify for TRICARE survivor coverage. Former spouses and remarried surviving spouses do not qualify to purchase coverage.
If your sponsor enrolled in TRS, survivors may purchase or continue coverage for up to six months from the date of their sponsor’s death.
If TAMP coverage was in effect, eligible survivors remain covered until the end of the 180-day TAMP period.
Survivor Benefits FAQs
Q: Where can I get more information regarding TRICARE Survivor Benefits?
A: The TRICARE Survivor’s Benefit Fact sheet can be found at http://www.tricare.mil/LifeEvents/DeathinFamily
Q: If my sponsor dies, do I automatically lose my TRICARE benefits?
A: No, as long as your information is correct in DEERS and you are an un-remarried spouse or unmarried child under age 21 (or 23 if enrolled full time in an approved educational program, or if the sponsor provided over 50 percent of the financial support).
Q: I am a former remarried spouse of a Coast Guardsman who died on Active Duty and we had two kids. Are our children still covered under TRICARE?
A: Yes, unmarried dependent children are transitional survivors until they lose TRICARE eligibility at age 21 or 23 (if enrolled as a full time student).
Have more questions about your TRICARE benefits? Leave a note in the comments below.