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Tricare Help: When over 65 is supplemental coverage needed?

Aug. 13, 2014 - 05:00PM   |  

Q. I will turn 65 next year. I know I must enroll in Medicare Part B to be eligible for Tricare for Life. I now have a Tricare supplemental policy through the Military Officers Association of America. Once I’m in TFL, will I still want to, or need to, keep that supplemental plan?

A. You won’t have a choice. According to MOAA’s website, the group’s Mediplus Tricare Supplemental Insurance coverage is available only to MOAA members under age 65. Most, if not all, Tricare supplemental policies have the same age cutoff.

The combination of Medicare and Tricare Standard that comprises Tricare for Life will cover 100 percent of your costs on the vast majority of your medical claims.

But there is one glaring exception: Neither Medicare nor Tricare covers routine hearing exams, hearing aids, eye exams or eyeglasses — obviously among the most common services and products required by people over age 65.

Q. I have a daughter by an active-duty soldier. We never married, and my daughter and I live halfway across the country from her father. Is my daughter eligible for Tricare?

A. Yes, your daughter can be covered under Tricare if the active-duty father enrolls her in the Defense Eligibility Enrollment Reporting System under his sponsorship.

Children normally do not receive military dependent ID cards until they reach age 10; the military sponsor’s ID card is used to show proof of eligibility for younger children to health care providers. But in cases such as this, when the parents are not together and the child lives with the nonsponsor parent, ID cards may be authorized for children under 10.

The military sponsor — the girl’s father — can start that process through the ID Card/DEERS office at his military installation. You can also get general information from the main DEERS support office in California. The toll-free number is 800-538-9552.

Q. I am deployed. My fiancée and I are getting married when I return from deployment. She has a pre-existing condition for which she has been seen by a doctor on a somewhat regular basis. She needs to go in soon for another appointment. When she becomes eligible for Tricare, will we be able to get refunds for these uncovered expenses? Will she be covered for issues related to this condition in the future?

A. Tricare will not reimburse or otherwise cover your fiancée for any medical costs incurred before you marry her and properly register her in DEERS as your dependent spouse.

On a more positive note, Tricare places no restrictions on coverage of pre-existing conditions. Once you are married and your fiancée is registered in DEERS, Tricare will cover her as an active-duty family member for any and all of her medical needs, even those relating to a condition that predates your marriage.

Write to Tricare Help, Times News Service, 6883 Commercial Drive, Springfield, VA 22159; or tricarehelp@militarytimes.com. In email, include the word “Tricare” in the subject line and do not attach files. Get Tricare advice any time at www.militarytimes.com/tricarehelp.

Answers by RallyPoint

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