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Can I keep Tricare after the divorce?

If you are getting divorced and have Tricare insurance through your military spouse, then one of the primary concerns you may have is whether you will be able to have health insurance after the divorce. Tricare insurance allows you and your family to ensure that you will have medical coverage for everyday checkups as well as emergency visits. When life comes to you fast, it is critical to have health insurance for unexpected medical needs. Losing health insurance can be a helpless feeling for a family. Is there a way to maintain the insurance despite your divorce?

The answer to the question of whether or not you can maintain the Tricare insurance depends upon several factors including the status of your spouse and their military service, how long you and your spouse were married in addition to other considerations that we will go through in today's blog post. Make no mistake, while health insurance may not be at the top of your mind when it comes to issues related to your divorce it is nonetheless an important subject that requires careful consideration by you. The last thing you want is for something unforeseen to happen regarding your health or that of your children after the divorce. Not having insurance coverage can be among the worst positions for you to find yourself in after a divorce case comes to an end.

While there are certainly several topics that are competing for your time and energy after a divorce, among the most important are those related to your family's health. We oftentimes talk about the health of your family in a divorce in connection with conservatorships considerations. However, in today's blog post we are going to look at this subject from the perspective of a family who is working on divorce in needs to maintain health insurance. Considering the possibility that you may lose health insurance benefits in your divorce it could be a huge mistake for your family.

Life after divorce when it comes to health care and health insurance

Once your divorce takes place, whichever spouse access the sponsor for Tricare insurance will continue to be covered by the insurance in addition to the sponsor's children. If you are a spouse who is not a veteran or active-duty service member then you would remain eligible for Tricare only in certain circumstances. Additionally, if you have children from a previous relationship or marriage that are not the children of the spouse you are divorcing then those stepchildren will also lose coverage under Tricare. At the very least, this reality should force you to consider your options when it comes to making decisions about health insurance coverage for your family now and in the future.

On the other hand, if you are the sponsor of the health insurance for your family then you need to know how to act once the divorce becomes final. Once you have a final decree of divorce signed off on by the family court judge then your divorce is officially over. You will need to take a certified copy of the final decree of divorce to whatever local office issues identification cards for Tricare. Doing so will update the information in the defense enrollment eligibility system.

The reason that this is important is that under Tricare policies a divorce is listed as a qualifying life event. This allows you and your children to make changes to your Tricare health plan. You would have 90 days after the divorce to get all of this done and to make the necessary changes. Tricare offers information about qualifying life events as well as the different plans that they offer on their website. While you are removing the names of any persons who are no longer eligible for insurance you can learn about the different plan options that are available to you period now that the family dynamics in your life are changing it may be a good time for you to update your plan and be able to take into consideration the needs of your new family unit.

On the other hand, if you are the spouse who would be receiving health insurance through Tricare because of your spouse being the sponsor then you need to know whether you will be able to remain eligible for insurance even after your divorce takes place. As we talked about a moment ago, your eligibility for insurance through Tricare would be maintained only if you meet certain criteria. Your spouse’s service in the military is what allows you to receive health insurance benefits through Tricare. 

You can keep your Tricare health insurance until the end of your divorce and certainly while you are still married but living separately. You may even be able to maintain your health insurance even after the divorce comes to an end. Let’s discuss the factors that would need to be in place for you to maintain your health insurance through Tricare after the divorce. That way you can know exactly what you need to be looking for in terms of your eligibility for  Tricare once you and your spouse are legally divorced.

Keep in mind the number 20 when you are considering your continued eligibility under Tricare.  Specifically, the 20/20/20 rule. Under this rule you can keep your Tricare benefits as long as you remain eligible if you and your spouse were married for at least 20 years,  the served member was in the military for 20 years and these periods overlapped for at least twenty years.  This is a high hurdle to clear all things considered. 

On the other hand, you can maintain your Tricare insurance for 1 year after your divorce if you were married to the service member for at least 20 years, your spouse served in the military for at least twenty years, and then these two periods overlapped for at least fifteen years. If you do not meet the criteria listed above then you would still be able to keep your insurance for as long as you are married. 

What to do if you are still eligible for Tricare after your divorce?

If you still qualify for Tricare insurance even after you're divorced then to establish your eligibility you should bring your marriage certificate, final decree of divorce, and proof of service documents to your local ID card office for Tricare. The main difference between your eligibility after a divorce versus during your marriage is that you will be listed in their system under your own Social Security number rather than under your spouse's. The benefits for Tricare as a former spouse mean that you will be treated like a retired family member in the health plan options for you will depend upon where you live. Remarrying or enrolling in a plan with your employer means that you will no longer be eligible for Tricare benefits.

What options do you have as a spouse who is no longer eligible to receive Tricare?

It can be difficult to meet the requirements to maintain Tricare health insurance after your divorce. If you do not meet the requirements to maintain Tricare health insurance, you would remain eligible until the divorce is finalized. Do not think that just because your spouse or you have filed for divorce you are no longer covered by health insurance. Once the divorce is officially over you would still have options in terms of your ability to have health insurance coverage.

Under the continued health care benefit program, you can purchase temporary health insurance coverage for this transition time in life. You would need to apply for a continued health care benefit program within 60 days from the date you become divorced. You can investigate whether you are eligible to receive this continued health care benefit program for an unlimited amount of period usually this would happen in situations where you have not remarried before age 55.

Next, you can search the online marketplace to find a civilian health care plan. This is something that many people do daily in terms of looking for health insurance. you can go online and start to price different plans that are available from different health insurance providers. Please note that you should consider the eligibility of your children in what requirements are in place for them. Your children of the marriage would likely still be eligible for Tricare health insurance even after your divorce comes to an end. Therefore, you would likely be looking for coverage only for You.

Next, you can consider your Medicaid eligibility here in Texas. For the most part, it would be safe to assume that you are not Medicaid eligible as there are restrictions in Texas for eligibility purposes. However, if you have young children that for some reason would not be covered under Tricare then you may be eligible as a mother. You should consider this option as a last resort. Also, if you live in Harris County you can inquire about a Gold Card or other coverage through the county public health program. 

What sort of continuing coverage is available for your children?

As we discussed earlier in today's blog post, a military member's biological and adopted children remain eligible for Tricare even after their divorce. There's a good peace some Peace of Mind when it comes to being able to make sure that your children have health insurance coverage even if you are looking for coverage elsewhere. Your children would lose eligibility once they turn 21 or 23 if they are enrolled in college. Additionally, the eligibility would end once they get married or serve in active-duty situations in the military. Your children would be able to purchase Tricare for young adults up until the age of 26.

Questions to ask yourself as a military family going through divorce new paragraph Every family that goes through a divorce have difficult circumstances to consider in different factors 2 think about as you head into a divorce. However, military families oftentimes have additional circumstances to weigh and think about that are not relevant to civilian families. For you and your family, it is important to have answers to these important questions sooner rather than later so that you can better plan for your divorce.

One question that I think you said to be asking is whether the military will provide you with an attorney. It is no secret that the costs of hiring an attorney for your divorce will be among the most expensive for your entire case. Money considers the costs associated with finding a place to live, securing health insurance, and possibly even having to go back to work the difficulties associated with the divorce can seem to be insurmountable. However, having a path to take regarding representation in the divorce can be a critical advantage for you to have.

 In most branches of the military, you can obtain support from the Judge Advocate General for your branch regarding your divorce. Their office can provide you with paperwork and information about considerations that you should be thinking about as you head into the divorce and can provide you with resources related to your benefits and information on child custody for military families. 

However, this group will not provide you with an attorney who can represent you inside of a courtroom. For that, you would need to seek out an experienced family law attorney in Texas to be able to help you manage the divorce process and advocate for your rights. In other words, do not expect the military attorney to follow you from wherever you may be to a Texas courtroom. For that, you would need to be able to rely upon the experience of a Texas family law attorney so that you can receive guidance and move forward with your divorce case in whatever circumstances you are facing.

What is the servicemembers civil relief act?

The servicemembers civil relief act can provide you with protection as you are going through a divorce in Texas. For instance, the servicemembers civil relief act detail how retirement pay can be divided assuming that your spouse or you are an active-duty service member. The service members' civil relief act can also protect for you to delay divorce proceedings due to your military obligations of service. This act of Congress allows you to request that the proceedings of your divorce be delayed for up to 90 days when your duties prevent you from being able to attend any court hearings. Individual courts can also delay proceedings further based on their discretion in the circumstances of your case.

How are costs considered regarding moving?

One of the major costs of divorce for military service members and their family include those related to moving from one place back to Texas. For example, if you were living in another country with your spouse but have filed for divorce in Texas then it may be your intent to move back to Texas to start your life as a single adult. You should know that in many cases the military will pay for your moving expenses so long as your document is expensed in sent to the appropriate person for your branch of service or that of your spouse.

Whatever costs are not considered by the military you can certainly make an issue for them within the divorce itself. For example, if you know that you will be moving back to the United States from another country while your spouse stays behind for their military service then you can consider negotiating for your spouse’s travel home. In a divorce scenario, you and your spouse have a great deal of latitude when it comes to being able to consider what goes into your final decree of divorce. If the costs of moving are important for you all to consider then you can include those in your final decree of divorce.

Getting back to solid ground when it comes to finances

Many people feel that because of a divorce they have been thrown off balance from a financial standpoint. To put yourself back on  solid financial ground you can consider your options and then decide one way or the other two to help yourself get back on your feet. For example, you may want to think about creating a household budget for yourself to show what money is coming into your house and what money is going out in the form of bills. Knowing where your money is going and how you can best allocate surplus money each month empowers you a great deal. As your household expenses and living arrangements are probably changing because of the divorce it is important to get your arms wrapped around your new financial circumstances sooner rather than later.

Questions about the material contained in today's blog post? Contact the Law Office of Bryan Fagan

if you have any questions about the material contained in today's blog post, please do not hesitate to contact the Law Office of Bryan Fagan. Our licensed family law attorneys offer free of charge consultations six days a week in person, over the phone, and via video. These consultations are a great way for you to learn more about the world of Texas family law as well as about how your family circumstances may be impacted by the filing of a divorce or child custody case.

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