Tricare After Divorce: What Benefits Are Not Included?

A medical assistant checks a patient’s temperature during a hospital visit. (U.S. Navy/Jacob Sippel)
A medical assistant checks a patient’s temperature during a hospital visit. (U.S. Navy/Jacob Sippel)

I'm getting a divorce from my Marine Corps husband. I know I get to keep my benefits under the 20/20/20 rule, including Tricare. Are there any benefits that are not included?

Divorce sure can throw a wrench in things, huh?

We’re glad you know about the 20/20/20 rule that allows military spouses who have been married for at least 20 years to someone who has served at least 20 years, and their marriage has overlapped that service by at least 20 years, to keep most of their military benefits after divorce. Other spouses qualify for one year of "transitional" benefits if their marriage overlapped service by 15 years instead of 20.

"Most of their military benefits" is the really important phrase here. What benefits do you get to keep?

After your divorce, you will still have Tricare health care coverage and commissary, exchange and Morale, Welfare and Recreation access.

But you will no longer be able to access Tricare dental benefits, according to Tricare officials.

"Following divorce, there is no former spouse coverage for Tricare Dental Plan," confirmed Kevin Dwyer, a Tricare spokesman. "The spouse loses all eligibility based on his or her former marital status as of 11:59 p.m. on the last day of the month in which the divorce becomes final."

Related Links: Military Divorce: Ask an Ex-Spouse

The Tricare Dental Program isn't like the rest of Tricare's health care programs. The program is managed by two different companies -- one for active-duty families, Guard and Reservists and their families, and one for military retirees. To access it, users must buy into it, no matter what their military status.

It's worth mentioning: You may find that a dental plan through a civilian employer is more cost-effective than Tricare's retiree dental option anyway. Perhaps no longer qualifying for Tricare dental isn't such a bad thing.

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