Qualifying Life Events
When life changes for you and your family, your TRICARE health plan options may also change. These are known as Qualifying Life Events (QLEs).
A QLE is a certain change in your life, such as marriage, birth of a child, or retirement from active duty, which may mean different TRICARE health plan options are available to you. A QLE opens a 90-day period for you to make eligible enrollment changes. A QLE for one family member means all family members may make enrollment changes.
The table below lists TRICARE QLEs. They include military and family changes, as well as government-directed changes.
Depending on your eligibility, a QLE may allow you and your family to:
- Enroll in a new TRICARE health plan.
- Change your health plan coverage.
If you want to enroll in or change your health plan, you must:
- Update DEERS with the QLE.
- Make the enrollment changes within 90 days following the QLE.
- Pay any enrollment fees or premiums due during that period.
No matter when you initiate the enrollment change following a QLE, coverage starts on the date of the QLE.
What To Do Following a QLE
- With any QLE, the first step is to update your or your family member's information in the Defense Enrollment Eligibility Reporting System (DEERS).
- Once your change shows in DEERS, you may make any eligible enrollment change online, by mail, or by phone.
What Happens if I Don't Take Any Action?
If you remain eligible for your current health plan and wish to continue coverage following a QLE, you don’t need to take action.
If you aren't already in a health plan and don't enroll in one, you'll only be eligible for care at a military hospital or clinic if space is available.
When retiring from active duty, you must make an enrollment decision within 90 days of your retirement. If you don’t enroll in a health plan within the 90-day period, you’ll lose TRICARE coverage and may only be eligible for care at military hospitals or clinics if space is available.
Making Enrollment Changes When You Haven’t Experienced a QLE
If you and your family haven’t experienced a QLE, you can enroll in or make changes to your health plan during TRICARE Open Season. Open season occurs each fall, beginning on the Monday of the second full week in November to the Monday of the second full week in December.
Visit the Open Season section to learn more.