As tragic and sad the loss of life is, it is also important to not lose track of the technicalities of life. This article tells you what happens in the unfortunate circumstances of the death of your sponsor.
Death is an irrevocable and inexorable part of life in general. However, in military life, it is more heightened and pronounced; it is a living and breathing reality that never ceases to exist or even disappear momentarily. Military personnel and their families wholeheartedly accept the inevitability and possibility of sudden death. It is not a possibility; it is just part and parcel of military life. Your spouse and medical sponsor who is on active duty could die at any time. Generally, the death of a spouse is traumatic enough, but it also leaves in its wake numerous uncertainties pertaining to financial stability and future. After the death of a spouse, the future financial stability of you and your children may be at stake. While married to an alive and active duty member, privileges remain in place- after the death of a spouse, certain ambiguities arise.
TRICARE Prime provides medical coverage to military sponsors and his dependents. After the death of the sponsor, you are automatically unenrolled from TRICARE Prime. However, in cases of loss of life, survivors of the deceased who include marital partners and children, may still qualify for TRICARE benefits. It has different terms, conditions but it is nevertheless something, and it is sure to ameliorate some, if not all of the burden.
TRICARE continues to provide benefits to eligible family members following the death of their military sponsor. The type of coverage and costs offered depend on your sponsor’s military status at the time of his death. You are automatically eligible for TRICARE survivor benefits as long as you are enrolled and registered in the Defense Enrollment Eligibility Reporting System (DEERS) and your information is valid and updated.
- Survivors of Active Duty Service Members
As a surviving marital partner, if your military sponsor spouse is killed while serving as an active duty member for a period of thirty days at a stretch (also includes National Guard and Reserve members), you are still qualified as a transitional survivor for at least three years, and have active duty family member privileges and gains. Eligible persons include remaining dependents of sponsors who are killed while on delayed-effective-date active duty orders. Transitional survivors remain eligible for TRICARE Prime, TRICARE Prime Remote for Active Duty Family Members and TRICARE Standard and TRICARE Extra in the United States, and the TRICARE Overseas Program including Prime Remote, and Standard for overseas dependents.
After three years, you are still essentially eligible as a surviving family member and have retiree family member privileges and costs. You pay fees and costs under retired person’s rate as part of TRICARE Prime, if available in your area or the TRICARE Standard and Extra in the United States, or TRICARE Overseas Program Standard while out of the United States. As a surviving dependent, you are not legally qualified for certain programs. If survivors of sponsors do not enroll in TRICARE Prime, coverage does not stop but goes forth under TRICARE Standard. Surviving offspring are still qualified for TRICARE benefits as Active Duty Family Members.
Unlike married partners (Wives/Husbands), the legality does not alter and benefits are not replaced after three years time. Therefore, sponsor progeny are still entitled to TRICARE coverage as ADFMs until eligibility expires as a result of age limits or if the single status changes because of marriage. After outgrowing TRICARE benefits, surviving children may make a move to continue TRICARE coverage until the age of twenty six by enrolling in TRICARE Young Adult Program.
- If Deceased Sponsor Was Retired
When a military sponsor dies after retiring from active duty (retirement for any reason including regular and medical), surviving family members (spouses and children) are still legally entitled to and can access TRICARE. Their coverage does not change and they can continue forth with the same health plan options and benefits they had prior to the death of their military sponsor. Surviving marital partners are still qualified for TRICARE unless they choose to get married again; in which case they lose out on TRICARE benefits. The legal status of any children following the demise of a parent remains unchanged. Therefore, children maintain eligibility for TRICARE privileges until the legal age limit expires or else they get married, thus altering their eligibility status, which in turn causes them to lose any sort of privileges under TRICARE.
- If Sponsor was a Non-Activated Member of the Guard or Reserve
If you are one of the surviving dependents of a non-activated Guard or Reserve service men who were protected under the TRICARE Reserve Select (TRS) or Transitional Assistance Management Program (TAMP) coverage at the time when the military sponsors were killed, you may qualify for TRICARE survivor coverage.
Former marital partners and surviving spouses who have since the death gone on to marry someone else are no longer eligible to buy or seek out any kind of TRICARE privileges or benefits. If TRS benefits were in place and maintained previously, eligible surviving dependents may buy or continue maintaining benefits that come under TRS for a period of six months, starting from the day and date when the military sponsor in question was killed. Remaining dependents (family members) who are legally qualified for or are registered in the Federal Employees Health Benefits (FEHB) Program may also seek out or buy TRS benefits and privileges.
- If Sponsor was a Retired Guard or Reserve Member
If you are the surviving family member (dependent) of a Retired Reserve service man who had coverage under the TRICARE Retired Reserve (TRR) plan at the time he or she was killed, you can still prove your eligibility in order to qualify for TRICARE survivor privileges and benefits.
Remaining alive dependents including marital partners and any and all offspring maintain their eligibility to qualify for TRICARE Retired Reserve survivor coverage plan until the day arrives when the military sponsor would have turned sixty years old if he had not been killed, at that particular time and in the advent ,the dependents are probably going to become legally qualified for premium free TRICARE Standard and Extra. They also have the option to purchase TRICARE Prime if availability is not an issue.
You only have to report the death to the pharmacy contractor, Express Scripts. For medical and dental care, the Defense Manpower Data Center (DMDC) gets information from the Social Security Administration (SSA) or the services.
It may take some time for DMDC to get the information. If you prefer, you may notify DMDC of the death by:
- Visiting a local ID card office with a copy of the death certificate;
- Faxing a copy of the death certificate to 1-831-655-8317; or
- Mailing a copy of the death certificate to:
Defense Manpower Data Center Support Office
400 Gigling Road
Seaside, CA 93955-6771
If you have questions, call DMDC at 1-800-538-9552. Visit MilConnect to learn more.