The custody agreement, sponsor’s military status and location may have an impact on how and where eligible child(ren) get care. In many cases, if your child lives between two households, or apart from the service member parent, he or she can get health care anywhere by following the rules of their health care plan. If needed, contact your contractor for assistance. Read below for some common things to keep in mind when selecting a health plan option and getting care for your child(ren) after a divorce. If you need further assistance for a unique situation, or would like assistance in selecting a health plan for your child, contact your regional contractor.
Both Parents are Service Members
A child can only have one sponsor. When both of the divorced parents are service members, you must decide together which parent should be the sponsor of the child’s benefits. If an agreement cannot be reached, visit an ID card office for additional guidance on how to resolve the issue. The ID card office can also update your child(ren)’s record(s) to remove their benefits and entitlements under one of the applicable parents. Removing their benefits and entitlements will not remove them from the other parent’s DEERS record.
One Parent is a Service Member and the One Parent is No Longer Eligible for TRICARE
Your child should have his or her own ID card when in the care of a parent or guardian who is not eligible for TRICARE or who is not the custodial parent. Contact your local ID card office for more information if your child does not have an ID card.
Shared Custody in Different TRICARE Regions
If custody of your child is shared, and you and your former spouse live in different TRICARE regions, you should decide carefully which health plan option your child(ren) should use based on the amount of time they stay with each parent.
For instance, if your child(ren) enroll in TRICARE Prime and custody is shared for more than 60 days at a time, if available in both locations, you should consider transferring your child’s TRICARE Prime enrollment each time the child(ren) move between parent’s homes. If you don’t transfer the enrollment each time, you’ll need a referral from the primary care manager for any non-emergency care. Without a referral, you will pay higher out-of-pocket costs for some services through the point of service option.
TRICARE Standard and Extra may be the best option in this scenario because your child(ren) can get care from any TRICARE-authorized provider, network or non-network without a referral. However, some services require authorization.