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Healthcare After Active Military & TRICARE after Separation

healthcare after military

If you are getting out of the military sometime soon, you need to understand what will happen with your healthcare, and what your options are. You won’t be able to keep TRICARE, at least in its current form, forever. Here are your healthcare options after the military.

Healthcare After The Military

There are different options based on if you are “separating” from the military, versus “retiring” from active duty military.

Healthcare After the Military If You Are Separating

If you are separating from active duty military, as opposed to retiring, you will not be able to keep TRICARE long term, but you might be eligible for either the Transitional Assistance Management Program (TAMP) and/or the Continued Health Care Benefit Program (CHCBP.)

RELATED: Healthcare When Going From Active Duty to Guard or Reserve (@MyMilitaryBenefits)

Transitional Assistance Management Program (TAMP)

If you are separating from the military and you are either:

  • Involuntarily separating from active duty under honorable conditions which include members who receive a voluntary separation incentive (VSI,) or members who receive voluntary separation pay (VSP) and aren’t entitled to retired or retainer pay upon separation, or
  • Separating from active duty following involuntary retention (stop-loss) in support of a contingency operation, or
  • Separating from active duty following a voluntary agreement to stay on active duty for less than one year in support of a contingency operation, or

If you are receiving a sole survivorship discharge, then you should be able to receive TAMP. TAMP will allow you to have 180 days of premium-free transitional health care benefits after your regular TRICARE benefits end. During this period, you are eligible to use:

  • TRICARE Prime
  • TRICARE Select
  • US Family Health Plan (enrollment required and must live in a designated location.)
  • TRICARE Prime Overseas (enrollment required)
  • TRICARE Select Overseas
  • Extended Health Care Option

RELATED: TRICARE Prime vs Select: How To Choose (@ MyMilitaryBenefits)

You can view your TAMP eligibility at MilConnect.  Or for more info, please visit here.

Continued Health Care Benefit Program (CHCBP)

The CHCBP is a premium-based plan that will give you temporary health coverage for 18-36 months when you lose your eligibility for TRICARE. CHCBP will help you bridge the gap between military health benefits and your new civilian health benefits, will provide the same coverage as TRICARE select, to include prescriptions, and will give you the minimum essential coverage that you need to qualify for the Affordable Care Act. If you qualify for CHCBP, you can purchase it within 60 days of your loss of TRICARE eligibility.

For more info, please visit here.

Qualifying for CHCBP

In order to qualify for CHCBP, your separation will need to be under, “other than adverse conditions.” You can qualify if you were an active duty service member, and released from active duty, for up to 18 months. If you are a dependent or spouse, and lose your TRICARE coverage, or an unremarried former spouse, and lost your TRICARE coverage, you can use CHCBP for up to 36 months.

The CHCBP contractor is Humana Military. You can use CHCBP after the loss of TAMP coverage and then be covered up to 18 months.

Healthcare After the Military If You’re Retiring

If you are actually retiring from active duty military, as opposed to separating, you will have some TRICARE changes after you get out of the military. First of all, you will be disenrolled from TRICARE Prime, and you will then have 90 days to enroll in a new plan after your retirement. You will have to pay annual enrollment fees.

You can re-enroll online, over the phone, or through the mail. If you do fail to enroll in TRICARE Prime or TRICARE Select you will lose all TRICARE coverage and will only be able to receive care at military hospitals and clinics on a space available basis.

Your options for health plans are:

  • TRICARE Prime (in Prime Service Areas)
  • 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 start the date of your retirement. You and your family might also be able to qualify for dental coverage through the Federal Employees Dental and Vision Insurance Program (FEDVIP) if you enroll in a TRICARE health plan.

There are some services that are no longer covered when you are retired. They are, hearing aids, TRICARE Extended Care Health Option (ECHO) services for family members, chiropractic care, and eye exams for all of the plans except for TRICARE Prime.

As a retiree, you may see an increase in costs, which will depend on your TRICARE plan. New costs may include:

  • Annual enrollment fees for TRICARE Prime and TRICARE Select 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: $3,000 annually per family
    • Group B: $3,500 annually per family.
    • Keep in mind, in the calendar year you retire, any amounts accrued on active duty will apply to your retired family cap.
  • Higher prescription costs

For more info, you can visit here.


SHPE stands for “Separation History and Physical Examination.” Any service member who is getting out of the military, whether they are separating, retiring, or deactivating will need to have one.  This will need to occur between 90-180 days before you separate or start terminal leave.

You will only need one of these exams, you can do so at a military hospital, clinic, or a VA facility, and the DOD and VA share results with one another.

This separation health assessment documents and assesses your medical history, medical concerns identified during your military career, and current health status.



About the author

Julie Provost is a freelance writer, blogger, and owner of Soldier's Wife, Crazy Life, a support blog for military spouses. She lives in Tennessee with her National Guard husband and three boys.