Pre-Activation Benefits

In some cases, you may qualify for early eligibility for TRICARE. You might qualify if your Service issues you delayed-effective-date active duty orders:

  • For more than 30 days, or
  • In support of a contingency operation

Eligibility begins either:

  • On the date your orders, or
  • 180 days before you report to active duty, whichever is later. 

Health Care Options

Before You Deploy or Get to Your Final Duty Station

Do you live near a military hospital or clinic? Within 50 miles or an hour's drive time is considered "near".

  • You can enroll in TRICARE Prime at that military hospital or clinic with a military primary care manager (PCM).
  • If you need specialty, urgent or inpatient care, you must have a referral from your military PCM.
  • You can’t enroll in TRICARE Prime with a civilian PCM. 

Do you live in a remote location? That means you are 50 miles or an hour's drive time to a military hospital or clinic.

  • You can’t enroll in TRICARE Prime Remote, but you can get routine care from any TRICARE-authorized providerAn authorized provider is any individual, institution/organization, or supplier that is licensed by a state, accredited by national organization, or meets other standards of the medical community, and is certified to provide benefits under TRICARE. There are two types of TRICARE-authorized providers: Network and Non-Network. DS.
  • If you need specialty, urgent or inpatient care you must have pre-authorization from your regional contractor.

Not sure if you live near a military hospital or clinic? Search Online Now

When You Reach Your Final Duty Station

You'll enroll in a TRICARE Prime option at your final duty station:

If your active duty orders are cancelled before you report for duty:

  • Your and your family’s eligibility for pre-activation benefits will end on the same date as your orders are cancelled.
  • The Uniformed Services Employment Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA) protects you from losing your employer-sponsored health plan. USERRA doesn’t go into effect until you report for active duty.
  • Keep your employer’s health plan coverage until you actually report for active duty.

Family Members

If your sponsor becomes eligible for active duty benefits, you will also become eligible for TRICARE. You're considered to be an active duty family member (ADFM). If you already have other health insuranceHealth insurance you have in addition to TRICARE, such as Medicare or an employer-sponsored health insurance. TRICARE supplements don’t qualify as "other health insurance.", you may continue to use this as your primary insurance, or you can choose to elect to use TRICARE. Learn more about how to coordinate other health insurance with TRICARE. 

During the pre-activation period, you may:

No matter what choice you make, make sure to keep important health-related documents for any care you receive during the pre-activation period. This could include health care receipts or explanations of benefits.

Dental Options

Guard/Reserve Members

  • You're eligible for active duty dental benefits.
  • If you are activatedCalled or ordered to active duty service for more than 30 days in a row. for duty and are enrolled in the TRICARE Dental Program, you’ll be automatically disenrolled. This will allow you to enroll in the Active Duty Dental Plan (ADDP).

Family Members

Are you a Federal employee?

If you're enrolled in the Federal Employee's Health Benefit Program and called to military duty, you may be able to continue coverage or elect to drop the coverage. >>Learn More about Coverage for Civilian Employees Called to Military Duty 

Last Updated 10/11/2022