How to Enroll in Tricare

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Active duty service members are covered by Tricare once they enlist, but will still need to fill out an enrollment application. Spouses, children and sometimes even disabled parents being supported by an active duty member are also eligible for Tricare coverage. The service member--called the sponsor--is automatically entered into the Defense Enrollment Eligibility Reporting System (DEERS), but they will need to register their dependents before they can be enrolled in Tricare. Spouses may register family members with a power of attorney if a service member is deployed.

Things You'll Need

  • Birth certficate(s)
  • Marriage license if applicable
  • Social security number(s)
  • Computer
  • Enroll dependents in DEERS by going to your local ID card facility at the nearest military base and filling out an Application For Uniformed Services Identification Card and DEERS Enrollment (DD form 1172). You will need to show original or certified copies of dependent's birth certificates, social security cards and if adding a spouse, a marriage license. If the sponsor is retired they will also need to bring a copy of their DD214 discharge papers. Dependents over the age of 10 should be present so they can have their identification card made.

  • Select a Tricare plan for your dependents. Sponsors are always enrolled in Tricare Prime. Go to tricare.mil and answer the three questions about your identity on the home page. You will be directed to a new page depending on the region you live. Select "Spouse and Family Heath Care Options" under the "Popular Topics" heading. This section will give you specific information on each plan and help you make a decision about what plan is best for your dependents. If you prefer, you can visit the Tricare Office at the nearest military treatment facility and collect pamphlets about each plan.

    If you select Tricare Standard you do not need to complete Step 3. No enrollment is necessary for Tricare Standard coverage as long as all eligible dependents are entered in DEERS.

  • Go to the Tricare office at the nearest military treatment facility and fill out a Tricare Prime Enrollment and PCM Change Form. You will need the social security numbers of all your dependents to fill out the form. Next select a PCM, or Primary Care Manager, for each dependent from a list that is given to you. You can change your dependent's PCM as often as you like by returning to the Tricare office and filling out the form with the name of the new PCM.

Tips & Warnings

  • Don't forget to update DEERS when your address, phone number or family status changes to avoid any disruption in your Tricare benefits.
  • A newborn or adopted child loses all Tricare eligibility if not enrolled in DEERS within 365 days of becoming a dependent.

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References

  • Photo Credit armed forces flags image by Michael Eaton from Fotolia.com
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