Health Care Coverage for Reserve Retirees

Members of the Retired Reserves below age 60 -- so called "gray area" retirees are not eligible for the same TRICARE Prime or Standard health care benefits as those who retire from active duty service. However, gray area retirees are eligible for the TRICARE Retired Reserve and TRICARE Retiree Dental Program.

TRICARE Retired Reserve is a premium-based plan available worldwide for retired Reserve members, their families and survivors who qualify.

NOTE: TRICARE Retired Reserve meets the requirements for minimum essential coverage under the Affordable Care Act.

Eligible Beneficiaries include:

  • Retired Reserve members who are:
    • Members of the retired Reserve of a Reserve Component who are qualified for non-regular retirement under 10 U.S.C., Chapter 1223
    • Under age 60
    • Not eligible for, or enrolled in, the Federal Employees Health Benefits (FEHB) program
  • Family members of qualified Retired Reserve members
  • Survivors of retired Reserve members if:
    • The sponsor was covered by TRICARE Retired Reserve when he or she died.
    • They are immediate family members of the deceased sponsor (spouses cannot have remarried).
    • TRICARE Retired Reserve coverage would begin before the date the deceased sponsor would have turned 60 years old.

Visit the TRICARE Retired Reserve website to learn more about cost and coverage under TRR.

Health Care for Retired Reserve Over 60

Reserve Component (RC) retirees become eligible for TRICARE benefits when they reach age 60 and begin receiving retirement pay. TRICARE eligibility remains in force until age 65. Upon reaching age 65, TRICARE ends, and you become eligible for Medicare. For information on TRICARE, contact the Beneficiary Service Representative or Health Benefits Advisor at your nearest military treatment facility.

Learn more about TRICARE benefits for retirees age 65 and older.

Reserve retirees are eligible for Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) medical care on a space-available basis. However, there are many limitations and eligibility requirements. As a retired member of the Guard or Reserve, you should not rely solely on VA services as your only source of health care. If you are a "gray area" retiree you should consider obtaining individual or family health insurance plan for medical coverage through your new employer.

Another option is to purchase extended transitional health care coverage (CHCBP) for up to 18 months of coverage. You have 60 days after separation to enroll in CHCBP. Your coverage will start the day after your separation. 

For more information visit CHCBP website or call their toll-free line at 1-800-444-5445.

Supplemental Health Insurance for Reserve Retirees

One short stay in the hospital could offset the cost of several years of supplement health insurance. Even though you are covered by TRICARE, a supplemental insurance policy is a good idea for retirees. Here's why:

  • TRICARE does not cover all costs.
  • TRICARE has a yearly deductible to be paid.
  • TRICARE has a yearly cap on non-covered expenses; the cap is extremely high, and you are responsible for the cost of non-covered items up to that amount.

If you are covered by health insurance with your new employer, you may use TRICARE as your supplemental insurance for that policy. Check with your TRICARE advisor concerning your particular circumstances and those of your family. 

Related Topics

Military Transition Transition Retiree Transition Healthcare

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