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TRICARE Options for Guard & Reserve Members


As a Guardsman or Reservist, you make a commitment to your country and helping those in need. TRICARE knows that you also need to remain physically and mentally ready, and is here to help you through the various stages of your career.

The life of a guardsman or reservist has many cycles. There is pre-activation, active duty, deactivation and inactive status. While you go through each stage your healthcare options change with TRICARE. 


Pre-activation is the first step in becoming eligible for TRICARE. You are TRICARE eligible on the date your orders are issued, or 180 days before you report to active duty; whichever is later. During pre-activation, you qualify for the same benefits you will have once you are activatedCalled or ordered to active duty service for more than 30 days in a row.. If you need care before your enrollment begins, try to get care at a military hospital or clinic first. If you cannot get care at an MTF or clinic and you’re referred to a TRICARE network provider, make sure to get authorization from your regional contractor.


When members of the guard and reserve activate they become eligible for the same health and dental benefits as active duty service members. Guard & reserve members should enroll in a TRICARE Prime option after arriving at their final duty station. The same goes for dental benefits. If you were previously enrolled in the TRICARE Dental Program, you will be dis-enrolled and will begin using active duty dental benefits.

Inactive Status

When you are inactive, depending on your status, you may qualify for either Line of Duty (LOD) care, TRICARE Reserve Select (TRS) or TRICARE Retiree Reserve. You can enroll in the TRICARE Dental Program, and if you purchase TRICARE Reserve Select, you can have prescriptions filled through the TRICARE Pharmacy Program.


When you leave active duty, your health plan options are different depending on if you were called to active duty in support of a contingency operation. If you were activated in support of a contingency operation, you are eligible for the Transitional Assistance Management Program (TAMP). TAMP provides 180 days of premium-free transitional health care benefits after regular TRICARE benefits end. If you do not qualify for TAMP, you may be eligible for the Continued Health Care Benefit Program (CHCBP). CHCBP is a premium-based plan that offers temporary transitional health coverage for 18-36 months after TRICARE eligibility ends. If you qualify, you may purchase the CHCBP within 60 days of losing TRICARE.

TRICARE has a number of resources available to help National Guard and Reserve members navigate these coverage cycles throughout your career. Visit  to learn more about your guard and reserve benefits.

Last Updated 6/7/2016