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I Forgot to Register My Child for Tricare

How to register you child with Tricare.

Dear Q&B,

I'm not sure how it happened, but I totally forgot to register my newborn daughter in DEERS or for Tricare -- and I didn't realize it until we started receiving medical bills after her first birthday. I feel so stupid. We had some pretty big bills, too, including an ambulance ride. Will Tricare cover those retroactively if we get her registered now?

Scatterbrained Mom

Dear Mom,

I know you were probably really sleep deprived those first few weeks, so I'm not going to judge you for forgetting this one. For future reference, though, registering your child in the Defense Enrollment Eligibility Reporting System (DEERS) is really, really important. I'm sure the medical bills have reminded you of that.

Fortunately, your problem isn't permanent. You can likely get Tricare to cover a portion of those medical bills retroactively, minus the cost share you would've experienced if your child was registered in Tricare Standard at the time of the care.

To avoid paying those bills out of pocket, you need to get her registered right away. You need to make an appointment (or walk into) your local ID card office, show proof of eligibility back to before the child's first birthday with her birth certificate, register her and then work with a Tricare Beneficiary Counseling and Assistance Coordinator (you can locate one here) to get those past medical bills covered.

Tricare enrollment and DEERS enrollment for a newborn go hand-in-hand and, normally, are really easy. If you want to enroll your child in Tricare Prime, you have the first 60 days of her life (120 days if you're overseas) to get her into DEERS and the Tricare Prime system.

After 60 or 120 days, and until the child's first birthday, she is automatically enrolled in Tricare Standard. On day 366, if you still haven't registered her, Tricare stops covering medical expenses -- and you end up where you are today.

Team Q&B

-- Do you have a question about your benefits? Email the Questions and Benefits team at

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