Death in the Family



Death in the Family 


You have 90 days after a death in the family to change your health plan.

Sponsor Dies

If your sponsor dies while serving on active duty, TRICARE continues to provide coverage for surviving family members. Plans and costs depend on:

  • The sponsor's military status when he or she died
  • If you're a spouse or a child

Spouses can keep TRICARE unless they remarry. If a spouse decides to remarry, their TRICARE coverage will end unless they marry another active duty or retired service member. TRICARE coverage for their children continues up to the normal age limitsReview the scenarios in the chart below for more information:

If your sponsor was ...  Then ... 

On active duty

You receive coverage as active duty family members for three years. After three years, coverage changes to be the same as retired family members. Children remain covered as active duty family members until they age out or lose TRICARE for other reasons. >>Learn more


Your coverage won't change. >>Learn More

A Guard or Reserve member

Your benefits are determined by your sponsor's status when he or she died. >>Learn More

Other Family Member Dies

If a family member who isn't the sponsor dies, please contact your local DEERS office to find out the necessary steps to report their death. Depending on your situation, your health plan options may also change from family to individual.

Are you an adult child you may qualify for TRICARE Young Adult?

You may be able to purchase TRICARE Young Adult when you turn 21 (or 23 if a full-time student) if:

  • You aren't married
  • You don't have your own employer sponsored health insurance
  • Your sponsor had TRICARE (as described above) when he or she died

Death Notification

You only have to report the death to the pharmacy contractor, Express Scripts. For medical and dental care, the Defense Manpower Data Center (DMDC) gets information from the Social Security Administration (SSA) or the services. 

It may take some time for DMDC to get the information. If you prefer, you may notify DMDC of the death by:

  • Visiting a local ID card office with a copy of the death certificate;
  • Faxing a copy of the death certificate to 1-800-336-4416 (Primary) or 1-502-335-9980 (Alternate); or
  • Mailing a copy of the death certificate to:

Defense Manpower Data Center Support Office
400 Gigling Road
Seaside, CA 93955-6771

If you have questions, call DMDC at 1-800-538-9552. Visit milConnect to learn more.

Eight-month Window to Purchase Medicare Part B

If you are entitled to Medicare Part A and your sponsor dies on active duty, you must have Medicare Part B to remain eligible for TRICARE. You have eight months after your sponsor’s death to purchase Medicare Part B to avoid the premium surcharge.

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.

Last Updated 8/2/2018