Your Child Transitioning to Adulthood with TRICARE Young Adult


Did your child graduate from college, but hasn’t yet launched a career? Not to worry, TRICARE may still be available to provide health care coverage. A change in family composition, like when your child becomes an adult, is a TRICARE Qualifying Life Event (QLE). QLEs may mean different TRICARE health plan options are available to you and your family.

After your child turns age 21, they’re no longer eligible for regular TRICARE. Qualifying young adults can purchase TRICARE Young Adult (TYA) any time. However, you and other family members have 90 days after your child turns age 21 to make changes to your TRICARE Prime or TRICARE Select health plan.

What is TRICARE Young Adult?

TYA is an option for unmarried, young adult dependents who age out of TRICARE coverage. TYA is only available for individuals and not families. The TYA benefit includes either TRICARE Prime or TRICARE Select coverage worldwide. The sponsor’s status and the dependent’s geographic location determine eligibility to purchase TYA Prime or TYA Select. TYA coverage includes medical and pharmacy benefits, but excludes dental coverage.

Is Your Child Eligible?

Your child can purchase TYA if he or she is:

  • An unmarried, adult child of an eligible uniformed service sponsor
  • At least age 21 but not age 26 (see further restrictions)
  • Ineligible to enroll in his or her own employer-sponsored health plan
  • Not otherwise eligible for TRICARE program coverage

To participate, your child must pay monthly premiums. The plan options (TYA Prime or TYA Select) and the sponsor’s military status determine costs for covered services. Check out TYA premiums and costs to learn more.

How to Enroll?

If your child qualifies for TYA, coverage can be purchased at any time. There are four ways to purchase TYA (online, phone, fax, and mail). If you choose to enroll by fax or mail, download the TRICARE Young Adult Application and submit the form to your regional contractor. When applying, your child must verify that he or she is neither married nor eligible to enroll in an employer-sponsored health plan.

Consider Other Coverage Options

Before purchasing TYA, review all health care options. While your child may qualify to purchase TYA coverage after aging out of TRICARE, it’s not the only choice. You can find other health care coverage options through the Health Insurance Marketplace.

Another option for young adults is the Continued Health Care Benefit Program (CHCBP). This plan provides temporary health coverage for 18-36 months after losing TRICARE. CHCBP acts as a bridge between military health benefits and a new civilian health plan.

Learn more about TRICARE coverage for children becoming adults and other QLEs that may affect you and your family. For additional information on TYA, download the TRICARE Young Adult Fact Sheet.

Join the May 30 TRICARE webinar to learn more about TRICARE Young Adult. Register today.

At the time of posting, this information is current. For the most recent information, contact your TRICARE contractor or local military hospital or clinic.

Last Updated 4/13/2022