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BENEFIT: Starting on October 1, 2001, eligible beneficiaries who continue to receive medical care from their current Medicare providers will have TRICARE as their second payer. This benefit will provide the following coverage:

  • If the medical care received is a benefit of both Medicare and TRICARE, Medicare will pay the allowable amount for the care. TRICARE will pay the amount that is the Medicare cost share, as well as any Medicare deductible. Most, but not all medical services are a benefit under both Medicare and TRICARE.

  • If the medical care received is a benefit of Medicare, but NOT a benefit of TRICARE, Medicare will pay its normal amount and the beneficiary will be responsible only for the Medicare deductible and cost-share. An example is certain types of chiropractic care, which is covered by Medicare but not TRICARE.

  • If the medical care received is a benefit of TRICARE, but NOT a benefit of Medicare, Medicare pays nothing. TRICARE will pay the amount it pays for the same service received by retirees under the age of 65. In this case, the beneficiary must pay the applicable TRICARE cost-share and deductibles. An example of this is the prescription drug benefit.

ELIGIBILITY: The law requires that beneficiaries MUST BE entitled to Medicare Part A and enrolled in Medicare Part B to receive TRICARE For Life benefits.


  • Enroll in Medicare Part B: If you have already turned 65 and had previously declined Medicare Part B you should purchase it now if you want the TRICARE benefits. Medicare allows enrollment each year from January 1 through March 31. Coverage under Part B will be effective July 1 of the same year. Please realize that since you did not enroll in Part B when you turned 65, you will have to pay a surcharge (adjusted for age) to join Part B.
  • Update Information in DEERS:
  • You can do this by calling 1-800-538-9552 or E-mailing the following information to addrinfo@osd.pentagon.mil:

    Sponsor's name and social security number
    Name(s) of other family members affected by the address change
    Effective date of address information
    Telephone number (including area code)
    Your new address.

  • Don't Drop Supplemental (Medigap) Policies Yet: When TRICARE for life is fully implemented it should replace any supplemental coverage you may have now. However, because of the delayed effective dates, any decision to drop a Medicare supplemental insurance policy (known as Medigap) based on the new law is premature.

If you have any questions or comments on senior health nutrition, fitness, etc., go to the Senior Health Forum where we are talking about the following:

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