Medical Care for Military Retirees

Retired military members receive a number of benefits for their time spent in the service. One of these benefits – one that often keeps military members fighting the fight (so to speak) in order to obtain it – is the health care available for retirees.

United States military members and their dependents are eligible for health insurance through TRICARE, a military health plan. Through TRICARE, military members are able to receive free healthcare from their primary care manager (PCM) who is in the TRICARE network. TRICARE also covers emergency room visits and surgeries. They offer a few different health plans for military members and their families to choose from.

When a military member retires he and his family are still eligible to receive healthcare through TRICARE. There are five different plans to choose from.

TRICARE Prime is the same plan offered to active duty military members. If the retiree lives near a base with a clinic, he can receive free medical care through TRICARE. If he receives care outside of a military installation, outpatient care is $12 and inpatient care is $11 per day.

TRICARE Standard and Extra is for non-active duty people. There is an annual deductible and the care is open to any TRICARE authorized medical care provider.

U.S. Family Health Plan is only available in six specific areas, including areas of Pennsylvania, all of New Jersey and southeast Texas. The rates are similar to those of TRICARE Prime.

TRICARE For Life is a supplement to Medicare. Under this program, Medicare pays its share, then TRICARE takes care of the rest of the medical expenses. There is no extra fee to use TRICARE For Life.

TRICARE Standard Overseas is for active-duty, retirees and their family members who live overseas. This plan often involves reimbursement. You pay the doctor’s fees out of pocket, and then later you are reimbursed.

Retired military members are also eligible for the TRICARE Retiree Dental Program. The dental insurance is optional and there is a monthly premium.

These health care benefits apply to those who have retired from active-duty or have been medically retired or placed on the Temporary Disabled Retirement List. These benefits are not available for military members who separated from the military for other reasons.

Members of the National Guard or Reserves are eligible to receive these medical benefits only after the age of 60 when they begin drawing their retirement pay.