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Keep Your Adult Dependents Protected with TRICARE Young Adult


You know that your Health insurance is an important part of staying healthy. Regular check-ups help protect you from high, unexpected medical costs due to accidents or injuries. However, it’s not always affordable, especially for those just beginning a career outside of the military. The good news is that many military dependents remain eligible for TRICARE Young Adult until age 26, which can help cover them until they secure health insurance of their own.

TRICARE Young Adult is a health care plan for eligible young adult children of TRICARE recipients that is available after they age out of “regular” TRICARE coverage at age 21 (or 23 if enrolled in college).

TRICARE Young Adult is available to those who:

  • Are between the ages of 21 and 26.
  • Are not eligible for employer-sponsored health care.
  • Are not eligible for other TRICARE coverage.
  • Are unmarried.
  • Are the child of a TRICARE-eligible uniformed service sponsor.

It’s recommended that you apply for TRICARE Young Adult within two months of needing coverage. Coverage begins at the first of the month and applications take approximately one month to process, so applying two months in advance will help minimize the amount of time you are uncovered before TRICARE Young Adult coverage begins.

There are two coverage options for TRICARE Young Adult: Prime and Select. Both options include medical and prescription drug coverage but do not include dental benefits. Eligibility for both options depends on the military status of the sponsoring servicemember. Additionally, both options vary in price and dictate where the dependent can receive medical care. You can learn more about both options at tricare.mil/TYA and determine if your dependents qualify.

TRICARE Young Adult is a great option for those who know they will need coverage for a few years after they age out of “regular” TRICARE. However, those who only need short-term coverage may benefit more from the Continued Health Care Benefit Program (CHCBP).

CHCBP is a premium-based plan for servicemembers and dependents that:

  • Provides temporary health coverage for 18 to 36 months for anyone who loses eligibility for TRICARE.
  • Acts as a bridge between military health benefits and your new civilian health plan.
  • Provides the same coverage as TRICARE Select.
  • Temporarily provides minimum essential health care coverage that meets the requirements of the Affordable Care Act.

CHCBP coverage can be purchased within 60 days of the loss of TRICARE eligibility, so be sure to act quickly if you choose this option.

Step-children are also eligible for Tricare Young Adult as long as the following applies:

  • As long as the parent of the child and sponsor are married.
  • If the marriage ends in divorce, the step-children lose eligibility on the date the divorce decree is final.
  • If the sponsor adopts his or her step-children, they remain covered as adopted children even if the marriage ends in divorce.

If you have any questions about you or your dependents’ eligibility, reach out to AAFMAA Member Benefits. Our VA Claims Coordinators can help you understand your benefits and entitlements.

This article was originally published June 10, 2020.