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Tricare Eligibility Extended For Many
Stars and Stripes
European Edition

April 5, 2004,

Many servicemembers leaving the military will now have more time to find private health care.

Tricare began accepting claims on March 17 as part of a new program giving servicemembers 180 days of Tricare eligibility upon separation from the military.

Servicemembers and their family members eligible for the program include:

Members involuntarily separated from active duty.

Reserve component members separated from active duty after being called up or ordered in support of a contingency operation for an active-duty period of more than 30 days.

Members separated from active duty after being involuntarily retained in support of a contingency operation.

Members separated from active duty following a voluntary agreement to stay on active duty for less than one year in support of a contingency mission.

In the past, troops with six years of service or less would have had 60 days of Tricare eligibility. Servicemembers with six years or more of service would have had 120 days of Tricare eligibility. Servicemembers categorized as retirees or those voluntarily leaving the service are exempt from the program.

"People that are separating, need to go to their personnel office to make sure their DEERS [Defense Enrollment Eligibility Reporting System] information is updated," said Troy Kitch, spokesman for Tricare Europe.

For other eligibility questions, servicemembers should contact their personnel office, Kitch said.

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This article is provided courtesy of Stars & Stripes, which got its start as a newspaper for Union troops during the Civil War, and has been published continuously since 1942 in Europe and 1945 in the Pacific. Stripes reporters have been in the field with American soldiers, sailors and airmen in World War II, Korea, the Cold War, Vietnam, the Gulf War, Bosnia and Kosovo, and are now on assignment in the Middle East.

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Copyright 2004 Stars & Stripes. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


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