Retiring from Active Duty? Take Action, Make an Enrollment Choice


When you retire from active duty, your TRICARE plan options will change. Retiring from active duty is a Qualifying Life Event (QLE). A QLE allows you to enroll in a new TRICARE plan or change your coverage options within 90 days of the life event. As a retiree, you’ll need to take action to enroll in a TRICARE plan if you want to continue to receive coverage for civilian care.

What actions do you need to take to continue TRICARE coverage?

First, update your information in the Defense Enrollment Eligibility Reporting System (DEERS). The next steps depend on which TRICARE plans you are eligible to use.

If eligible, you can reenroll yourself and eligible family members in TRICARE Prime or TRICARE Select. Depending on the plan you choose, you’ll pay the single or family enrollment fee. There is no TRICARE Select enrollment fee for Group A retirees.

Depending on your eligibility, there may be other TRICARE plans for you and your family after retirement. Visit the TRICARE Plan Finder to learn about your options. For dental or vision coverage, you may also be eligible to enroll in the Federal Employees Dental and Vision Insurance Program beginning in 2019.

When do you need to reenroll in TRICARE coverage?

If you want to keep TRICARE Prime or TRICARE Select with no break in coverage, you must enroll within 90 days after your retirement date. If you don’t enroll in TRICARE Prime or TRICARE Select within 90 days of retirement, you’ll only be eligible for care in a military hospital or clinic on a space-available basis. The effective date of coverage will be your retirement date.

If you enroll in a TRICARE plan more than 90 days after your retirement, your request will be considered a new enrollment. If you have a break in TRICARE coverage, you and your eligible family members can only receive care at a military hospital or clinic on a space-available basis until you have TRICARE Prime or TRICARE Select coverage again.

Active duty service members pay nothing out of pocket and their family’s costs are minimal. However, depending on their TRICARE plan, retirees may see an increase in their enrollment fees, copayments, cost-shares, and other fees.

How do you reenroll in TRICARE coverage?

Understanding your TRICARE options will help you and your family make the best health care decisions. Learn more about your TRICARE plan options after retiring from active duty.

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 2/17/2021