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Going to College

When they are full-time college students, your child is eligible for regular TRICARE benefits until their 23rd birthday or graduation, whichever comes first.

  • Your student status must be in the Defense Enrollment Eligibility Reporting System (DEERS)
  • Visit MilConnect to see what information you need to update your student status

Health care plans depend on where the school is and your sponsor's military status. Here are some questions to help you decide.

Health Plan Options

1. Where is the school located?

TRICARE Prime is only available in Prime Service Areas. Check the school's ZIP Code online or call your regional contractor to see if the school is in a Prime Service Area.

  • If so, your child may enroll in TRICARE Prime
  • If not, your child can use TRICARE Standard and Extra

The US Family Health Plan is another Prime plan available in designated US Family Health Plan areas.

2. How will you get to the doctor?

If your child gets TRICARE Prime, they’ll have an assigned primary care manager (PCM). They must make appointments with your PCM, or they’ll have to pay point-of-service fees.

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 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. You’ll save money by visiting a network provider.

4. Are you signing up for a student health plan?

  • Some colleges and universities offer a student health plan
  • Student health plans are other health insurance. TRICARE always pays second after OHI
  • If you plan to use a student health plan, then TRICARE Standard and Extra is the best TRICARE plan

Keeping Minimum Essential Coverage

Your child has minimum essential coverage required under the Affordable Care Act with any of TRICARE's health plans. To keep minimum essential coverage after regular TRICARE coverage ends:

Last Updated 10/8/2014