Paycheck Chronicles

Kid Going Off to College? Make Sure They Are Covered by Tricare

(Stock photo)
(Stock photo)

If you have a child heading off to college this fall you obviously are worried about many things. We are here to give you some good news: Health insurance doesn't have to be one of them.

Your children are normally covered under your Tricare benefits until they turn 21 but, if they attend college full time, that coverage can be extended until they are 23. 

This only applies if they aren't married.  

How to Extend Tricare Past Your Child's 21st Birthday

If your student is heading to college, you need to update update the Defense Enrollment Eligibility Reporting System (DEERS) to reflect this. If you don't, they could lose eligibility. You should try to do this well in advance of their 21st birthday so their coverage doesn't lapse.

To extend benefits past their 21st birthday, you’ll need a letter from the school registrar’s office stating that your child is enrolled full time and studying for an associate’s degree or higher. You also need to prove you are providing at least 50 percent of their support. You can usually use a copy of your tax returns for this.

You need to bring all the information to an ID card facility; you can't do it online or through the mail. Check our dependent ID card page for locations. 

Details to Be Aware Of

If your child is attending school overseas or in a different location than where you are living, they may need to switch to a different Tricare plan.

Some colleges and universities offer a student health plan. Student health plans are considered "other health insurance (OHI)" by Tricare. In this case, the OHI will pay first and Tricare will normally pay any leftover amount. If you plan to use a student health plan, tell your health care and pharmacy contractors, and update DEERS to show you have OHI.

Tricare After Leaving College, or If Not Attending College

The Tricare Young Adult plan offers coverage to your dependents up to age 26. They don't need to be in college to get this coverage.

There is a premium for this plan. Check out or Tricare Young Adult FAQs for details.

Keep Up With Changes in Tricare and Your Other Benefits

Want to know about changes in military benefits as they happen? Sign up for a free membership to have the latest benefits news delivered directly to your inbox.

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