Dependent children are eligible for regular TRICARE benefits while in college until their 23rd birthday or until graduation, whichever comes first. After that, children may qualify to purchase TRICARE Young Adult.
The "student status" must be entered in the Defense Enrollment Eligibility Reporting System (DEERS) to remain eligible past age 21. Visit MilConnect to See What Information is Needed.
Health care options depend on where the school is located and the sponsor's military status. Parents and college students should ask the following questions to help decide which TRICARE plan to use in college:
1. Where is the school located?
TRICARE Prime is only available in Prime Service Areas. Find out if the college is in a Prime Service Area by calling the regional contractor for the TRICARE region where the school is located. If it is, then your you may enroll in TRICARE Prime. If not, then TRICARE Standard and Extra may be the only option.
The US Family Health Plan is another Prime option available in designated US Family Health Plan areas.
2. How will my child get to the doctor?
Access to a health care provider is very important. If you enroll in TRICARE Prime, you will have an assigned primary care manager (PCM). Your must make appointments with your PCM, or point of service fees may apply.
If it's not convenient to have an assigned PCM, you may want to consider TRICARE Standard and Extra. You can visit any TRICARE-authorized provider and you'll have more flexibility when home during school breaks.
3. How much will we pay out-of-pocket?
TRICARE Prime has the fewest out-of-pocket costs, unless you use the point of service option. With TRICARE Standard and Extra, you may need to pay the doctor up front for care and file a claim with TRICARE later for reimbursement. But, you can still save money by visiting a network provider.
4. Are we signing up for a student health plan?
Some colleges/universities offer a student health plan. Student health plans are considered other health insurance, so TRICARE will be the secondary payer to any student health plan. If you plans to use a student health plan, then TRICARE Standard and Extra is the best TRICARE option.