Want to divorce your spouse but are concerned about losing your TRICARE health insurance benefits? No need to fret, there are several options available through the military that can keep you covered for several months, years and perhaps indefinitely!
The Cadillac of post-divorce military healthcare options is TRICARE eligibility under the “20-20-20” Rule. You are eligible for TRICARE if the ex-sponsor had at least 20 years towards retirement, you were married for 20 years and all 20 years of the marriage overlaps 20 years of your ex-spouse’s service. Under this scenario, TRICARE lasts indefinitely.
However, not everyone makes it to 20 years with their spouse – for those that only make it 15 years you may be eligible for TRICARE under the “20-20-15” Rule. Under this scenario you are eligible for one year of TRICARE if the ex-spouse had at least 20 years towards retirement, you were married for 20 years and 15 of those years overlap the 20 years of the ex-spouse’s service.
But wait, there’s more! So what happens if you did not make it to 15 years or you still need healthcare after the one year eligibility period under the “20-20-15” Rule? There is something for you too. It is called the Continued Health Care Benefit Program (“CHCBP”) and it offers transitional healthcare coverage for 18 to 36 months after TRICARE eligibility ends. CHCBP is the equivalent of a “COBRA” transitional insurance plan in the civilian sector.
What’s better, in certain situations, eligibility for CHCBP can last indefinitely! In order to qualify for CHCBP beyond 36 months you must be an unmarried former spouse of a service member receiving any portion of a service member’s retired pay as a result of divorce proceedings. This option can be especially helpful for an ex-spouse who is unable to work or otherwise obtain their own health insurance post-divorce.
If you or your spouse is a member of the military, you should be represented by an attorney who is familiar with the demands of military service on families. Contact Kevin J. Murphy, Esq. at 856.428.8779 or firstname.lastname@example.org for a consultation.