Healthcare for College Students

Paying for college. Getty Images
Paying for college. Getty Images

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? Well TRICARE will help with health-insurance, unfortunately the empty-nest syndrome isn't covered.


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. 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.

Normal 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.

TRICARE Young Adult can then become an option for unmarried, adult children who have "aged out" of regular TRICARE coverage. The plan provides comprehensive medical and pharmacy benefits.TRICARE young adult can be purchased by eligible children ages 21 - 26. See our TRICARE Young Adult page for more information.

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 the Health and Human Services website.

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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