If My Spouse Gives Up His Benefits Can I Have Them?

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A U.S. Marine holds hands with his spouse.
A U.S. Marine holds hands with his spouse. (U.S. Marine Corps/Piper A. Ballantine)

A friend of mine said her husband gave up his free military eye surgery so she got to get it instead. Can my husband do the same thing? My eyes are terrible and I hate my glasses.

That’s not how military health benefits work, sorry. The only military benefit that can be transferred to a family member if a service member decides not to use it is the Post 9-11 GI Bill education benefit. Other than that, you’re on your own.

As far as corrective eye surgery goes, Tricare does not cover any kind for spouses or family members. That means your friend definitely didn’t get laser eyesight correction or any other kind of eye help (other than an annual eyesight exam) paid for by Tricare.

Active duty and activated military members, however, are often provided with care to which family members don’t typically have access. That includes chiropractic care and corrective eye surgery.

However, as with all medical care, military treatment facilities (MTF) can choose to provide or cover certain care for family members that aren’t typically covered by Tricare. Those procedures are often done on a case-by-case basis with a huge waiting list. They include things like vasectomy reversal and elective plastic surgery for spouses. This could also be the case for corrective eye surgery. 

But even if you could convince providers at your MTF to perform any given procedure on you, it would have nothing to do with whether or not your husband also had it done or not. That’s just not how the system works.   

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