Healthcare for College Students

Your 18-year-old daughter is moving out of your house to be closer to the university, where she'll be attending school full-time. Now what? The following is a summary of how a student's healthcare needs may be covered under several TRICARE options:


A student's healthcare needs may be covered under several TRICARE options: TRICARE Prime, TRICARE Extra, or TRICARE Standard. Dental care may also be covered, depending on the sponsor's status (active duty versus retired), meaning a college student may participate in either the TRICARE Dental Program or the TRICARE Retiree Dental Program.

Patient Confidentiality

When your son or daughter turns 18, the rights you have to access his or her medical information will go to your child. The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) Privacy Rule does not allow parents to have access to information about the health and well-being of children over age 18 unless the child provides written authorization. The Privacy Rule generally allows parent to have access to medical records about his or her child, as his or her minor child's personal representative. For more information on The Privacy Rule, please visit

Parents of children 18 years of age or over may continue to update information for their children in the Defense Enrollment Eligibility Reporting System (DEERS). All other requests (e.g. primary care manager change, claims information) and information handled by the regional contractor must be updated by the 18-year old child.

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TRICARE Eligibility and Enrollment

Before choosing a TRICARE plan for your college-bound student make sure he or she is properly registered in the DEERS. This ensures that your college student's enrollment and/or future claims are promptly processed. You, or your college-bound student (if 18 or older) may verify his or her information in DEERS and eligibility status, by calling the DEERS Support Office (DSO) at 1-800-538-9552 or by visiting the nearest uniformed services ID card facility.

TRICARE covers eligible children until age 21. For TRICARE coverage beyond the age of 21, your college student must be enrolled full-time at an accredited institution of higher education and the sponsor must provide more than 50 percent of the student's financial support. Call the nearest uniformed services ID card issuing facility for information on necessary documentation you will need to extend benefits for your college student beyond his or her 21st birthday, To locate the nearest ID card facility, visit

TRICARE benefits end when your college student reaches age 23 or when full-time student status ends, whichever comes first. For example, if your college student turns 23 on January 3rd, but doesn't graduate until May, your student loses coverage at midnight on January 2nd.

It is important for college students to keep their address, phone numbers, and e-mails current in DEERS so they can receive important TRICARE information as well as claims generated explanation of benefits. College students 18 years of age and over or parents may update their address, phone number, and e-mail by
  • Visiting the DEERS Website
  • Faxing changes to DEERS at 1-831-655-8317
  • Calling the DSO Telephone Center at 1-800-538-9552
  • Mailing changes to:
    Defense Manpower Data Center Support Office
    400 Gigling Road
    Seaside, CA 93955-6771

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Review Your TRICARE Choices

TRICARE choices for college students depend on the availability of TRICARE network providers in the area where they plan to attend school. All three TRICARE options are available at various locations throughout the United States. The United States is divided into regions that are managed by different healthcare contractors. TRICARE overseas locations consist of three regions: TRICARE Europe, TRICARE Pacific, and TRICARE Latin America and Canada. Use the TRICARE map to find the name and phone number of the contractor for each state or overseas region.

TRICARE Service Center (TSC) representatives can help you decide what healthcare option may be best for your college student. To reach a TSC, call the toll-free telephone number for the region where your college student will be attending school or visit for local TSC information. A Beneficiary Counseling and Assistance Coordinator (BCAC) at a local military treatment facility (MTF) may also help you make an informed decision regarding your student's healthcare.

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