TRICARE continues to provide coverage for family members when a sponsor dies. Family member health plan options and costs will vary based on:
- The sponsor's military status when he/she dies
- If the surviving family member is a spouse or child
The scenarios below provide an overview of survivor coverage. Spouses remain eligible as described below unless they remarry.
Survivors of Active Duty Service Members*
When an active duty sponsor dies, spouses and children become "transitional survivors." As transitional survivors, surviving family members remain eligible for TRICARE as "active duty family members." This means that health plan options and costs will not change. After three years, the surviving spouse's coverage will change to be the same as retired family members. Children remain covered as active duty family members until they lose eligibility due to age or other reasons. >>Learn More
*Includes activated National Guard/Reserve members
Survivors of Non-Activated National Guard/Reserve Members
If a National Guard or Reserve sponsor dies when not on active duty, surviving family members are are only eligible for continued TRICARE health benefits if the sponsor was covered by TRICARE Reserve Select or under the Transitional Assistance Management Program when he or she died.
Survivors of Retired Service Members
If a sponsor dies after retiring from active duty (either regular or a medical retirement) then surviving family members remain eligible for TRICARE with the same health plan options and costs they had before their sponsor passed away. >>Learn More
Survivors of Retired National Guard or Reserve Members
If a retired National Guard or Reserve member dies, surviving family members may qualify for TRICARE benefits if the sponsor was covered by TRICARE Retired Reserve at the time he or she passed away.
Surviving Adult Children Who May Qualify for TRICARE Young Adult
Eligibility for TRICARE Young Adult is based on your sponsor's eligibility for TRICARE. If your sponsor dies before you're enrolled in TRICARE Young Adult, you may qualify to purchase the plan when you turn 21 (or 23 if enrolled in college full time), if the following scenarios apply:
- You aren't married
- You aren't covered by your own employer-sponsored health insurance
- When your sponsor died, he or she was eligible for and covered by TRICARE health benefits:
- Active duty or retired TRICARE benefits
- TRICARE Reserve Select*
- TRICARE Retired Reserve*
- Transitional Assistance Management Program
*If your Selected Reserve or Retired Reserve sponsor was eligible for TRICARE Reserve Select or TRICARE Retired Reserve but had not purchased the plan, then you do not qualify to purchase TRICARE Young Adult. >>Learn More
Did your active duty sponsor die before October 7, 2001?
Surviving children are eligible for TRICARE, just not with the same coverage as active duty family members. Instead, children have the same health plan options and costs as retired family members.