A social media post on Tricare's Facebook page that promotes information on getting Tricare after marriage has sparked disbelief, outrage and some laughs across the military spouse community before the agency's social media managers altered it today.
The original post, published the morning of Sunday, Feb. 5, read "You had me at #Tricare: http://www.tricare.mil/Marriage. #NationalWeddingMonth," and was accompanied by a photo of a couple on their wedding day.
But after over 300 comments and 800 shares, many of which expressed outrage at the message, officials changed the caption the morning of Tuesday, Feb. 7 to first "Thinking about marriage? Learn more: http://www.tricare.mil/Marriage. #NationalWeddingMonth" and then, about 45 minutes later, "Getting married? Learn more: http://www.tricare.mil/Marriage. #NationalWeddingMonth."
Readers on Tricare's page and across Facebook questioned the original slogan, saying it plays into an already well-known military spouse stereotype that makes military family members prickle: that men and women marry into the military for the benefits.
"Using a common insult to promote marriage in the military is horribly irresponsible, and yeah, ya brats, that was offensive," one commenter said on Tricare's page. "It makes every marriage look like a joke. I sincerely hope whoever was in charge of this (before the failed edit) was fired for their clear lack of maturity."
"It isn't funny. How do you find humor in Tricare putting all spouses in a negative light?" read another post that had apparently been deleted from the page but was posted by another commenter via screen shot. "It makes us all look like gold digging jerks."
Plenty of commenters also found the post funny, while others thought it was firmly in the "sad but maybe sometimes true" category.
"One of the best marketing ploys to date! #GetThatTricare #ImNotSayingShesAGoldDiger ... but she probably is," another commenter said in a post that Tricare had also "liked" on the page. "If your girl asks about your Tricare in the first two weeks and says 'I have my own health insurance I don't need yours' she's fishing for that #Tricare #GotEm."
Update: Tricare apologized for the post in a status they planned to post to their Facebook page after providing it to Military.com the morning of Feb. 7.
"In an attempt to combine lighthearted humor and important information about how the Tricare benefit changes when service members marry, Tricare unintentionally offended members of our beneficiary and military community. The post has been edited to more clearly reflect the important information available at www.tricare.mil/Marriage and we sincerely apologize to any Tricare beneficiaries who were offended," the statement said.