Event QLE?

Retiring from Active Duty


You have 90 days after your retirement date to enroll in a TRICARE health plan.You may also qualify to enroll up to 12 months after retiring from active duty.

When You Retire

  • You and your family have a change in status, and your plan options change.
  • If you want to keep TRICARE Prime or TRICARE Select with no break in coverage, you must reenroll within 90 days after your retirement date.
  • You and your family members need to get new ID cards.

Retroactive Enrollment

If you don’t enroll in TRICARE Prime or TRICARE Select within 90 days of retirement, you may request a retroactive enrollment. Coverage is effective from the date of your sponsor’s retirement. If applicable, enrollment fees would need to be paid back to the retirement date. If you don’t request enrollment within 12 months of your retirement date, you can only enroll in a TRICARE plan during TRICARE Open Season or until you and/or a family member experiences a Qualifying Life Events. You’ll only be eligible for care at a military hospital or clinic if space is available.


Before You Retire

Remember to schedule your Separation History and Physical Examination (SHPE) between 90 and 180 days before you retire or start terminal leave. The Department of Defense (DoD) and Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) uses the SHPE as a single separation examination to capture your complete medical history. >>Learn More about SHPE

After You Retire

Here's a quick look at how TRICARE changes when you retire. 

Health Plan Enrollment

When you retire, the status change will disenroll you from TRICARE Prime.

  • You must enroll in a TRICARE plan within 90 days after your retirement. You may have to pay annual enrollment fees.
  • If you don’t enroll in TRICARE Prime or TRICARE Select within 90 days of retirement, you may request a retroactive enrollment if you do so within 12 months of your retirement.
  • You can re-enroll online, on the phone, or through the mail. >>Learn More
  • If you fail to enroll in TRICARE Prime or TRICARE Select, you will lose all TRICARE coverage and only be able to receive care at military hospitals and clinics if space is available.

Health Plan Options

You and your family may enroll in one of these health plans:

  • TRICARE Prime (in Prime Service AreasGeographic areas in the U.S. where we offer TRICARE Prime. They ensure medical readiness of active duty by adding to the capability and capacity of military hospitals and clinics. Prime Service Areas were also built around the Base Realignment and Closure sites.)
  • TRICARE Select
  • US Family Health Plan (in specific U.S. locations)
  • TRICARE For Life (with Medicare Part A & B coverage)
  • TRICARE Select Overseas

If you're enrolled in TRICARE Reserve Select, your coverage will end when you retire from the Selected Reserve. You may qualify to purchase TRICARE Retired Reserve.

Dental and Vision Plan Options

You and your family may qualify to purchase dental coverage through the Federal Employees Dental and Vision Insurance Program (FEDVIP).

If you enroll in a TRICARE health plan, you may qualify to purchase vision coverage through FEDVIP.

For more information, visit

Covered Services

Some services are no longer covered when you retire. These include:

  • Hearing aids
  • TRICARE Extended Care Health Option services for family members
  • Chiropractic care
  • Eye exams for all plans except TRICARE Prime

>>Learn more about dental care options


While on active duty, you paid nothing out-of-pocket and your family's costs were minimal. As a retiree, you may see an increase in costs. Depending on your TRICARE plan, your new costs may include:

  • Annual enrollment fees for TRICARE Prime and TRICARE Select Group BIf you or your sponsor’s initial enlistment or appointment occurs on or after January 1, 2018, are in Group B. DS
  • Copayments for TRICARE Prime
  • Higher copayments and cost-shares for TRICARE Select
  • Catastrophic cap* increases from $1,000 per family to:
    • Group AIf you or your sponsor’s initial enlistment or appointment occurred before January 1, 2018, you are in Group A.: $3,000 annually per family
    • Group B: $3,500 annually per family
  • Higher prescription costs 

When your sponsor retires, the full deductible and cost-shares credited towards the previous family cap ($1,000) is credited to the new cap ($3,000) in the same calendar year.

*In the calendar year you retire, any amounts accrued on active duty apply to your retired family cap.

Family Members Eligible for Medicare

Family members who are eligible for Medicare must have Medicare Part B coverage to stay eligible for TRICARE when you retire. If you had Medicare while on active duty, you remain eligible when you retire.


If you move after you retire, be sure to update your address in DEERS.

Health Care Resources

Learn more about other Qualifying Life Events

Separating Having a Baby
Getting Married Moving
Getting Divorced Becoming Medicare Eligible
Going to College Child Becoming an Adult
Losing or Gaining Other Health Insurance Death in the Family
Moving When Deploying Injured on Active Duty
Activating Deactivating
TRICARE-Videos TRICARE QLE Knowledge Plan: Retiring from Active Duty >> More Videos
  • When you retire, your TRICARE options will change and you’ll need to take action.
Don't Lose Your TRICARE Benefits!

If you become eligible for Medicare under age 65 for a disability or any other reason, you must have Medicare Part B to keep TRICARE. >>Learn more about Medicare and TRICARE

Last Updated 3/29/2023