Pre-Activation Benefits

You may qualify for early eligibility for TRICARE if you're issued delayed-effective-date active duty orders:

  • For more than 30 days
  • In support of a contingency operation

Eligibility begins on the date your orders are issued or 180 days before you report to active duty, whichever is later. 

Health Care Options

Before You Deploy or Get to Your Final Duty Station

Do you live near a military hospital or clinic? This is within 50 miles or an hour's drive time.

  • You can enroll in TRICARE Prime at that military hospital or clinic with a military primary care manager (PCM).
  • If you need specialty, urgent or inpatient care, you must have a referral from your military PCM.
  • You can’t enroll in TRICARE Prime with a civilian PCM. 

Do you live in a remote location? This is more than 50 miles or an hour's drive time to a military hospital or clinic.

  • You can’t enroll in TRICARE Prime Remote, but you can get routine care from any TRICARE-authorized providerClick to closeAn authorized provider is any individual, institution/organization, or supplier that is licensed by a state, accredited by national organization, or meets other standards of the medical community, and is certified to provide benefits under TRICARE. There are two types of TRICARE-authorized providers: Network and Non-Network..
  • If you need specialty, urgent or inpatient care you must have prior authorization from your regional contractor.

Not sure if you live near a military hospital or clinic? Search Online Now

When You Reach Your Final Duty Station

You'll enroll in a TRICARE Prime option at your final duty station:

Family Members

If your sponsor becomes eligible for active duty benefits, you too become eligible for TRICARE as an active duty family member. If you already have other health insuranceClick to closeHealth insurance you have in addition to TRICARE, such as Medicare or an employer-sponsored health insurance. TRICARE supplements don’t qualify as "other health insurance.", you may continue to use this as your primary insurance or elect to use TRICARE. Learn more about how to coordinate other health insurance with TRICARE. 

During the pre-activation period, you may:

Whatever you decide to do, keep copies of your health care receipts and explanations of benefits for care received during the pre-activation period

Dental Options

Guard/Reserve Members

Family Members

Are you a Federal employee?

If you're enrolled in the Federal Employee's Health Benefit Program and called to military duty, you may be able to continue coverage or elect to drop the coverage. >>Learn More about Coverage for Civilian Employees Called to Military Duty 

If your active duty orders are cancelled before you report for duty …

Eligibility for pre-activation benefits for you and your family ends on the date your orders are cancelled.  

Protection under the Uniformed Services Employment Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA), which ensures that your employer-sponsored health plan can be reinstated, does not go into affect until you report for active duty.  Because of this, we strongly encourage you to retain your employer’s health plan coverage until you actually report for active duty.

Last Updated 11/22/2017