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TRICARE for Retirees

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So you're set to retire, but don't know what will happen to your healthcare. Can you really stand to lose your military healthcare benefits now that you're leaving and probably have a family to take care of? Fortunately, TRICARE offers plenty of options.

It sounds like a complicated process but we will attempt to explain what your eligibility is to the various TRICARE programs available for retirees and their families.

  1. When you retire from active duty you are eligible to purchase TRICARE Prime, Extra, Standard, or the US Family Health Plan. Once you reach age 65 you are no longer eligible for those programs, you can then purchase Medicare and TRICARE for Life.
  2. If you retire from the National Guard or Reserves you can purchase TRICARE Retired Reserve until age 60. At that time you can purchase either TRICARE Prime, Standard, or Extra. At age 65 you are no longer eligible for those programs, you can then purchase Medicare and TRICARE for Life.

TRICARE Health Plans

  • TRICARE Prime - Retirees and their families can purchase TRICARE Prime Coverage. Unlike active duty members, they have to pay an annual enrollment fee and copays for treatment See our TRICARE Prime Coverage Details for more information.
  • TRICARE Standard and Extra - Retirees and their families can purchase TRICARE Standard or Extra Coverage. All retirees have to pay a deductible amount of $150 per individual (no more than $300 per family). See our TRICARE Standard Overview or TRICARE Extra Overview pages for more information.
  • US Family Health Plan - Retirees and their families can purchase coverage under the US Family Health Plan. Unlike active duty members, they have to pay an annual enrollment fee and copays for treatment
  • TRICARE Retired Reserve - Retired Guard or Reservists and their family members can purchase TRICARE Retired Reserve until they reach age 60, there is an enrollment fee, and copays for treatment.
  • TRICARE For Life -  Retirees over age 65 can purchase TRICARE for Life. For those living in the US, TRICARE For Life is a Medicare supplement. Medicare does not provide coverage outside the United States or U.S. territories . Therefore, TRICARE For Life is your primary payer for health care received in all other overseas locations.
  • MEDICARE - Medicare is Health Insurance for people 65 years of age and older, some people with disabilities under age 65, and people with End-Stage Renal Disease (permanent kidney failure requiring dialysis or a transplant).

TRICARE Retiree Dental

The TRICARE Retiree Dental Program (TRDP) was authorized by Congress to provide a basic dental program for Uniformed Services retirees and their family members. Further legislation has allowed the program to be enhanced to include more comprehensive coverage.

Under contract with the U.S. Department of Defense, the Federal Services division of Delta Dental Plan administers the TRDP.

The TRDP is a voluntary dental benefits program with enrollee-paid premiums. It is available worldwide, for more information see our TRICARE Retiree Dental page.

Pharmacy Benefits

  • TRICARE Pharmacy Program - The TRICARE Pharmacy Program provides the prescription drugs you need, when you need them, in a safe, easy, and cost-effective manner.
  • TRICARE Maintenance Medications Program - All persons taking select maintenance medications must receive refills via TRICARE Pharmacy Home Delivery or use a military pharmacy instead of using retail pharmacies.

Vision Benefits

  • TRICARE Vision Benefits - Some TRICARE programs offer free or reduced price eye examinations and corrective lenses.  



Medicare provides health insurance for Americans aged 65 and older who have worked and paid into the system. It also provides health insurance to younger people with disabilities.

For more information, see our Medicare page.

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