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Becoming Medicare-Eligible

Medicare is a health insurance program for people:

  • age 65 or older
  • under age 65 with certain disabilities
  • with end stage renal disease
  • with Lou Gehrig's disease

Medicare Part A is premium-free hospital insurance.  Medicare Part B is medical insurance, and you must pay Medicare Part B premiums to keep Medicare Part B coverage.  The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services manages Medicare.

TRICARE beneficiaries who have Medicare Part A, must have Medicare Part B to remain TRICARE-eligible. The only exceptions are if: 

  • Your sponsor is on active duty
  • You're enrolled in the US Family Health Plan
  • You're covered by TRICARE Reserve Select
  • You're covered by TRICARE Retired Reserve

If you fall into one of these categories, you are not required to have Medicare Part B to remain eligible for TRICARE. However, we strongly encourage you to get Medicare Part B as soon as you become eligible for Medicare Part A to avoid any future loss of TRICARE coverage. >>Learn More


When you have Medicare Parts A and B, you're covered by TRICARE For Life.

  • Medicare is your primary insurance
  • TRICARE is the second payer minimizing your out-of-pocket expenses.
  • TRICARE benefits include covering Medicare's coinsurance and deductible.

US Family Health Plan

If you're already enrolled in the US Family Health Plan when you become eligible for Medicare at age 65 (US Family Health Plan coverage beginning before September 2012), you can stay enrolled as long as there is no break in coverage.

Beginning October 1, 2012, Medicare-eligible beneficiaries age 65 and older can no longer enroll in the US Family Health Plan. >>Learn More

Under age 65?

If you have Medicare due to a disability, you can enroll in TRICARE Prime if its available where you live. When you do, your Prime enrollment fees are waived. You can also recieve a refund for any Prime enrollment fees paid. Check with your regional contractor for details.

Last Updated 4/8/2014

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