When You Retire

  • You and your family have a change in status, and your plan options change.
  • If you want to keep TRICARE Prime or TRICARE Select with no break in coverage, you must reenroll within 90 days after your retirement date.
  • You and your family members need to get new ID cards.

Retroactive Enrollment

If you don’t enroll in TRICARE Prime or TRICARE Select within 90 days of retirement, you may request a retroactive enrollment. Coverage is effective from the date of your sponsor’s retirement. If applicable, enrollment fees would need to be paid back to the retirement date. If you don’t request enrollment within 12 months of your retirement date, you can only enroll in a TRICARE plan during TRICARE Open Season or until you and/or a family member experiences a Qualifying Life Events. You’ll only be eligible for care at a military hospital or clinic if space is available.

Before You Retire

Remember to schedule your Separation History and Physical Examination (SHPE) between 90 and 180 days before you retire or start terminal leave. The Department of Defense (DoD) and Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) uses the SHPE as a single separation examination to capture your complete medical history. 

After You Retire

Here's a quick look at how TRICARE changes when you retire.

Health Plan Enrollment

When you retire, the status change will disenroll you from TRICARE Prime.

  • You must enroll in a TRICARE plan within 90 days after your retirement. You may have to pay annual enrollment fees.
  • If you don’t enroll in TRICARE Prime or TRICARE Select within 90 days of retirement, you may request a retroactive enrollment if you do so within 12 months of your retirement.
  • You can re-enroll online, on the phone, or through the mail. >>Learn More
  • If you fail to enroll in TRICARE Prime or TRICARE Select, you will lose all TRICARE coverage and only be able to receive care at military hospitals and clinics if space is available.

Health Plan Options

You and your family may enroll in one of these health plans:

  • TRICARE Prime (in Prime Service Areas, Geographic areas in the U.S. where we offer TRICARE Prime. They ensure medical readiness of active duty by adding to the capability and capacity of military hospitals and clinics. Prime Service Areas were also built around the Base Realignment and Closure sites.)
  • TRICARE Select
  • US Family Health Plan (in specific U.S. locations)
  • TRICARE For Life (with Medicare Part A & B coverage)
  • TRICARE Select Overseas

Your coverage will begin on the date of your retirement.

Dental and Vision Plan Options

You and your family may qualify to purchase dental coverage through the Federal Employees Dental and Vision Insurance Program (FEDVIP).

If you enroll in a TRICARE health plan, you may qualify to purchase vision coverage through FEDVIP.

For more information, visit www.benefeds.com.

Covered Services

Some services are no longer covered when you retire. These include:

  • Hearing aids
  • TRICARE Extended Care Health Option services for family members
  • Chiropractic care
  • Eye exams for all plans except TRICARE Prime


While on active duty, you paid nothing out-of-pocket and your family's costs were minimal. As a retiree, you may see an increase in costs. Depending on your TRICARE plan, your new costs may include:

  • Annual enrollment fees for TRICARE Prime and TRICARE Select Group BClick to closeIf you or your sponsor’s initial enlistment or appointment occurs on or after January 1, 2018, are in Group B.
  • Copays for TRICARE Prime
  • Higher copays and cost shares for TRICARE Select
  • Catastrophic cap* increases from $1,000 per family to:

               Group A: If you or your sponsor’s initial enlistment or appointment                 occurred before January 1, 2018, you are in Group A.: $3,000                       annually per family

               Group B: $3,500 annually per family

  • Higher prescription costs

*In the calendar year you retire, any amounts accrued on active duty apply to your retired family cap.

Family Members Eligible for Medicare

Family members who are eligible for Medicare must have Medicare Part B coverage to stay eligible for TRICARE when you retire. If you had Medicare while on active duty, you remain eligible when you retire.

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