I Forgot to Register My Child for Tricare

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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 three-month check-up at her off-base doctor. I feel so stupid. We had some pretty big bills, too, including an urgent care visit. Will Tricare cover those retroactively if we get her registered now?

Sincerely, 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.

Unfortunately, your problem is probably going to last a little bit longer. If you live near a military treatment facility, she can be seen there, assuming they are accepting patients. 

Before anything else, 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 90 days of her life to get her into DEERS. If you're near a military hospital, she'll automatically be put into the Prime plan unless you say otherwise. 

After 90 days she is dropped from automatic coverage as your child, Tricare then stops covering medical expenses and, once you do enroll her, she can be seen in the military clinic or hospital only, on a space-available basis. Tricare won't extend payment or coverage for any off-base care, and you won't be able to sign her up for Prime or Select until the next open enrollment period or "qualifying life event." 

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