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Tricare Won't Help Me Because It Thinks I'm a Man

Deborah Vanloh, a mammogram technologist at Naval Hospital Pensacola, prepares a patient for a mammogram Oct. 5, 2015. Photo by Jason Bortz/Navy
Deborah Vanloh, a mammogram technologist at Naval Hospital Pensacola, prepares a patient for a mammogram Oct. 5, 2015. Photo by Jason Bortz/Navy

Dear Q&B,

I need a mammogram, which should be covered by Tricare. But when I tried to schedule my appointment, I was told that Tricare won't authorize it because, according to the personnel system, I am a man.

I am not a man. I have never been a man. I am a woman.

My wife is in the Army Reserve. We don't live near a base. But I really need to make this mammogram appointment. How can I fix this problem?

Sincerely, Female Spouse

Dear Female,

You're not the only person I've heard from who has had their gender misidentified in the Defense Enrollment Eligibility Reporting System (DEERS), from which Tricare pulls its data.

I've heard from many gay and lesbian spouses, in particular, who have had their gender incorrectly marked in the system.

This problem is particularly confusing to me because to get your ID card you must visit the DEERS office in person and present documents that clearly state gender.

None of the problems I’ve heard about happened because the person is transgender. How is this a problem? We may never know.

The real question is how to fix it. And unfortunately, there's only one way to do it: in person at a DEERS office.

To make changes to your ID, you'll need a special power of attorney or for your service member to electronically submit a digitally signed DD-1172-2 form along with their Common Access Card (CAC). There isn't any way around that.

You'll need to visit the ID card office. Just to be sure everything is done properly, you should also take your birth certificate and any other paperwork that includes your gender.

You can find your nearest ID card office or make an appointment on this site.

Good luck!

-- Team Q&B

-- Do you have a question about your benefits? Email the Military.com Questions and Benefits team at questionsandbenefits@military.com.

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