You may not be aware that there are only certain times you can make changes to your TRICARE plan and coverage. These times usually correspond to life events or changes in your situation or family. TRICARE calls these times "Qualifying Life Events" (QLEs).
Depending on your eligibility, a QLE may let you enroll in a new TRICARE plan or change your coverage.
If you want to enroll in or change your plan, you must make the enrollment changes within 90 days following the QLE and pay any enrollment fees or premiums that may be due for the new plan during those 90 days.
If you make the changes within the 90 day window your coverage will become effective on the date of the QLE. If one member of your family has a QLE, all eligible family members may change their enrollment status during the QLE period.
What is a Qualifying Life Event for TRICARE?
TRICARE says the following are the only things that count as QLEs. As such, these are the only times you can make changes to your TRICARE coverage:
- Activating or deactivating for reserve & guard service
- Deploying or mobilizing
- Being injured on active duty
- Getting married
- Having a baby or adopting a child
- Children going to college
- Children becoming adults
- Death in family
- Getting other insurance
- Becoming eligible for medicare
- Separating from the military
How To Make Changes To Your TRICARE Coverage Due To A Qualifying Life Event
In most cases you need to update DEERS first before you contact TRICARE to make the change. For example, if you try to add a new child to TRICARE before the child is listed in DEERS it won't work.
In most cases you need to provide official documents to update DEERS (birth certificate, marriage certificate, proof of college attendance, etc.). Depending on the TRICARE plan you have, and the area you live in there may be further requirements.
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