Friday, September 22, 2023

How To Sign Up For Medicare And Tricare For Life

Don't Miss

Q& a: Tricare For Life Expert Discusses How You Get Coverage

Tricare for Life and Medicare Supplements
  • The TRICARE For Life Handbook has a lot of details about the program and frequently asked questions.

  • The TRICARE and Medicare Turning Age 65 Brochure is a vital resource for those who will be turning 65. It gives you all the specifics that youll need to get started with TFL.

  • If youre under 65 and entitled to Medicare, the TRICARE and Medicare Under Age 65 Brochure is for you.

If Youre Not On Active Duty

As a general rule, Medicare will be the primary payer or the policy that pays first for all Medicare-approved services from non-VA providers. Medicare will pay up to its defined coverage limits.

TRICARE will usually act as the secondary payer. If there are costs remaining that TRICARE covers, TRICARE will help pay for them. Having both forms of insurance can significantly reduce your out-of-pocket costs. Its important to know that just because TRICARE pays for some of the costs Medicare doesnt cover, it may not pay for all of them.

An exception is when you receive care from a military hospital or any other federal healthcare provider. TRICARE will usually be the primary payer for these services.

How to get your questions answered

If at any time you have questions about who pays for what, you can call Medicares Benefits Coordination & Recovery Center at 855-798-2627 . You can also call TRICARE for Life at 866-773-0404.

What Can I Do Next

Generally, youre first eligible to sign up for Part A and Part B starting 3 months before you turn 65 and ending 3 months after the month you turn 65.

Because the company has less than 20 employees, your job-based coverage might not pay for health services if you dont have both Part A and Part B.

Recommended Reading: Does Medicare Cover Oxygen At Home

What Happens If The Services I Receive Are Not Covered By Tricare And/or The Medicare Advantage Plan

Tricare and Medicare Advantage will coordinate benefits to minimize your out-of-pocket costs for covered services. However, some services that are not medically necessary are not covered by Tricare or a Medicare Advantage plan. In other instances, if your Medicare Advantage plan does not cover a particular service and Tricare does, Tricare will pay its portion for the service. You will be responsible for the Tricare deductible and any copayment or coinsurance amount. If Tricare does not cover a service that your Medicare Advantage plan covers, your Medicare Advantage plan will pay its portion for the service. You will be responsible for the Medicare Advantage plan deductible, if applicable, and any copayment or coinsurance amount.

Do you have further questions about Medicare Advantage and Tricare coverage? Would you like help evaluating Medicare Advantage plans? I would be happy to help you.

  • To get some more Medicare plan information to review, use the links below you can schedule a phone call with me or have me email you plan options available through eHealth.
  • If youd like to compare some of the Medicare Advantage plans available where you live, use the Compare Plans button on this page.

New To Medicare?

Becoming eligible for Medicare can be daunting. But don’t worry, we’re here to help you understand Medicare in 15 minutes or less.

Is Tricare For Life Right For You

Who can join with Medicare

TRICARE For Life is the plan for you if:

  • You’re eligible for TRICARE
  • You have both Medicare Part A and B

Coverage is available worldwide and you can see any provider you want. However, you’ll pay more if you get care from Veteran’s Administration providers or providers who opt-out of Medicare, because they’re not allowed to bill Medicare.

When retired service members and their families become eligible for TRICARE For Life, typically at 65, they are no longer able to enroll in TRICARE Prime.

Read Also: Is Obamacare Medicare Or Medicaid

Who Is Eligible To Receive Tricare For Life

Eligible individuals include those who are registered in the Defense Enrollment Eligibility Reporting System who also have Medicare Parts A and B. DEERS is a database of information on uniformed services members , U.S.-sponsored foreign military, DoD and uniformed services civilians, other personnel as directed by the DoD, and their family members.

Be sure to update your information in DEERS so you and your family can use TRICARE for Life. For example, you should update your information if you retire or separate from active duty, get married or divorced, become eligible for Medicare, or move to a new location.

If I Have Medicare And Tricare For Life Will I Owe Anything For Healthcare Services I Receive

It depends on the specific services youre receiving and whether Medicare, TRICARE for Life or both cover those services. To determine if Medicare covers a specific service or benefit, visit or call 1-800-633-4227. To determine if TFL covers the service or benefit, visit the TRICARE website at or call Wisconsin Physicians ServiceMilitary and Veterans Health at 1-866-773-0404.

If the service is covered by both Medicare and TRICARE for Life, youll have no out-of-pocket costs. The good news is that most healthcare services fall into this category. After Medicare pays its portion of the claim, TRICARE for Life pays the remaining amount, and you pay nothing.

For example, for a 30-day medically necessary inpatient hospital stay in the United States, Medicare pays 100% after youve met your $1,484 deductible. However, TRICARE for Life pays the deductible, which means you owe nothing.

If the service is covered only by Medicare, Medicare will pay the Medicare-authorized amount, and youll be responsible for the Medicare deductible and cost-share amounts.

For example, if you receive chiropractic services, Medicare Part B pays 80% after you meet the $203 deductible. TRICARE for Life pays nothing, which means you pay a 20% Medicare cost-share amount.

If the service is covered only by TRICARE for Life, TRICARE for Life will pay the TRICARE-allowable amount, and youll be responsible for the TRICARE deductible and cost-share amounts.

You May Like: How Much Is Medicare B Deductible

How Do Tricare For Life And Medicare Process Claims

Typically, your provider will file claims with Medicarefirst. After Medicare calculates its share, it will forward the claiminformation to TFL.

If you have other health insurance, Medicare will submitclaims to that insurance company first. Afterwards, you can send a claim to TFLfor any outstanding amount not covered by Medicare or the other insurer. Forinstance, if you also have a Medicare Supplement and TFL, Medicare would payfirst, and the supplement would pay second. Afterwards, TFL would payremaining, eligible expenses.

How Tricare Works With Medicare


Home / FAQs / General Medicare / How TRICARE Works with Medicare

Beneficiaries eligible for both TRICARE and Medicare should understand how the two medical insurance programs work together. Medicare consists of a few different parts. If youre familiar with these parts, you might be wondering how each works with TRICARE, and if additional supplemental insurance is necessary for those who are dual-enrolled in both Original Medicare and TRICARE.

TRICARE For Life is the health insurance program available to U.S. military retirees who qualify, as well as their beneficiaries, for no cost. Its different and separate from Medicare. Medicare is the U.S. national health insurance program for individuals 65 years of age and older or who are disabled. Its crucial for those who are dual-eligible to understand their coverage options.

Don’t Miss: How To Get Replacement Medicare Id Card

How To Get Tfl Claims Paid

If you are enrolled in TFL, Medicare, and a UC-sponsored or Via Benefits medical plan, your doctor will file a claim with Medicare first. Once Medicare has paid its portion of the claim, it will forward the claim to your UC medical plan or Via Benefits carrier.

If part of the claim remains unpaid after UC or the Via Benefits plan has paid its portion, youll need to forward the remainder of the claim to TFL yourself. For details about how to do this, please contact TRICARE customer service at 773-0404 or

If you are working: the UC employee group medical plan pays first, Medicare pays second, and TFL pays last.

If you are retired: Medicare pays first, the UC-sponsored or Via Benefits plan pays second, and TFL pays last.

Tricare For Life Enrollment

People do not need to fill out a form to enroll in TFL. If they are enrolled in original Medicare and registered in DEERS, they are automatically covered.

However, a person must have a valid military ID card, which must be renewed after it expires on the first day of the month that a person turns 65.

A person who gets benefits will be automatically enrolled by the Social Security Administration . A person can check their status by going to their local SSA office or calling 800-772-1213.

If a person delays enrollment in original Medicare, disenrolls from Medicare Part B, or stops paying Medicare Part B premiums, TFL suspends their coverage until they reenroll. Upon re-enrollment, a person will again automatically receive TFL benefits.

Also Check: How Do I Enroll In Medicare Part A And B

How Does Tricare For Life Work With Medicare Advantage

Some TRICARE For Life beneficiaries choose to enroll in Medicare Advantage plans to access benefits such as gym memberships and dental, vision, and hearing coverage. As Medicare doesnt cover these benefits, an Advantage plan is a means for the beneficiary to obtain them. Before you enroll in a Medicare Advantage plan, make sure your health care providers are in the plan network meaning they accept your coverage.

For example, if you have a Medicare Advantage HMO plan and TFL, the HMO is your primary insurance, and TFL acts as a supplement. If you receive care outside your HMO network, the HMO wont cover any of the costs. Any claim will be forwarded to TFL.

Anything the Advantage plan doesnt cover, TFL will help to cover. This includes copays and deductibles, for which you would be otherwise responsible.

Therefore, if your providers are in your network, you may ultimately have no out-of-pocket expenses once TFL has paid its share. Thus, underscoring the importance of ensuring your providers are in-network before signing up for a Medicare Advantage plan.

Aging Into Medicare And Tricare For Life

Medicare and Tricare

Becoming Medicare-Eligible

You have 90 days after you become eligible for Medicare to change your TRICARE health plan.

NOTE: Plan options will vary depending on your situation .

Medicare is a health insurance program for people:

  • Age 65 or older
  • Under age 65 with certain disabilities
  • With end stage renal disease
  • With Lou Gehrig’s disease
  • Mesothelioma

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services manages Medicare:

  • Medicare Part A is hospital insurance. You usually don’t pay a monthly premium for Part A if you or your spouse paid Medicare taxes while working.
  • Medicare Part B is medical insurance. You pay a premium each month.
  • Medicare Part D is pharmacy coverage. You pay a premium each month.

Using Medicare and TRICARE Together

If you have Medicare Part A, you must also have Medicare Part B to remain eligible for TRICARE, including prescription drug coverage.

You don’t need to sign up for Part B if you’re:

  • An active duty service member
  • An active duty family member
  • Enrolled in TRICARE Reserve Select, TRICARE Retired Reserve, TRICARE Young Adult, or the US Family Health Plan.

Prescription Drug Coverage

You must have Medicare Part B, unless you qualify for an exception listed above. You can continue to get prescriptions filled with no break in coverage as long as you have Medicare Part B when you first become eligible for Medicare Part A.


When you have Medicare Parts A and B, you can use TRICARE For Life.

US Family Health Plan

Recommended Reading: How Do I Qualify For Medicare Low Income Subsidy

How Does Tricare For Life Work With Medigap

TRICARE For Life acts similar to a Medicare Supplement plan. Its possible to also enroll in a Medicare Supplement plan if you have both TFL and Medicare.

Whether this would be advantageous to you is dependent on your health insurance needs. If you enroll in Medicare, TFL, and Medigap, Medicare will be your primary insurance, the Medicare Supplement plan will be secondary insurance, and TFL will pay last.

Tricare For Life And Prescription Drug Coverage

TRICARE for Life health insurance includes comprehensive prescription drug coverage, so Medicare Part D or a Medicare Advantage Plan with a prescription drug plan is not required.

Since TRICARE for Life is considered creditable coverage, if you decide you would like to enroll in a separate Part D plan later, you will not be required to pay a late enrollment penalty.


Choosing coverage when you are eligible for both Medicare and TRICARE benefits can be tricky! That’s why we are here to help. Give us a call today and an agent will be happy to review all of your options.

You May Like: What Age Does A Person Qualify For Medicare

How Tricare For Life Works

You may visit any authorized provider.

  • Your provider files your claims with Medicare.
  • Medicare pays its portion and sends the claim to the Tricare For Life claims processor.
  • Tricare For Life then pays the provider directly for Tricare-covered services.

You can get care at military hospitals and clinics, but only on a space-available basis.

Which Providers Can You Visit With Tricare For Life

Have VA Coverage or Tricare for Life? Learn how Medicare and Medicare Plans can benefit you!

To avoid potential high out-of-pocket costs, you should seekproviders that accept both Medicare and TFL. You also have access to militaryhealth facilities but only on a space-available basis.

If you visit a provider who has opted out of Medicare,TRICARE will generally only pick up its portion of the claim as a secondarypayer, leaving you with substantial out-of-pocket costs. In underserved areas,TRICARE may make an exception and serve as the primary payer.

Read Also: What Is The Annual Deductible For Medicare

What Happens If A Provider Opts Out Of Medicare

If your provider opts out of Medicare, Medicare will paynothing. TFL would cover up to 20 percent of allowed TRICARE amounts forservices, and youd be responsible for the remaining bill. This rule applies toany care received from a U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs for injuriesor illnesses not related to your military service. You can read more about theVA and associated care and costs at

How Does Tricare Work With Medicare Advantage

Tricare for Life is the health insurance program for qualified military retirees and their eligible dependents. This is different than Medicare, which is the national health care system for many people age 65 and older and for people with certain disabilities. Medicare beneficiaries who have Medicare Part A and Part B have the option of enrolling in a Medicare Advantage plan offered by a private insurance company contracted with Medicare. Its possible to have both Tricare and Medicare Advantage and have the two plans work together.

Find affordable Medicare plans in your area

Don’t Miss: What Is Medicare Part G

Sign Up: Within 8 Months After The Active Duty Service Member Retires

  • Most people dont have to pay a premium for Part A . So, you might want to sign up for Part A when you turn 65, even if the active duty service member is still working.
  • Youll pay a monthly premium for Part B , so you might want to wait to sign up for Part B.

Avoid the penalty & gap in coverageIf you miss this 8-month Special Enrollment Period, youll have to wait to sign up and go months without coverage. You might also pay a monthly penalty for as long as you have Part B. The penalty goes up the longer you wait to sign up. How much is the Part B late enrollment penalty?

How Does Us Family Health Plan Work With Medicare

Tricare For Life and Medicare Advantage Part 1

The US Family Health Plan offers the TRICARE Prime benefit to eligible military beneficiaries. As of October 1, 2012, Medicare-eligible individuals over age 65 cannot enroll in the US Family Health Plan. However, if your US Family Health Plan coverage began before September 2012 with no break, you can keep it when you age into Medicare.

TRICARE recommends also enrolling in Part B to avoid the late enrollment penalty. Medicare-eligible individuals under 65 can still stay on the US Family Health plan until aging out and transitioning to TFL. Those over 65 who are ineligible for Part A based on work credits can also still enroll in USFHP.

Read Also: Does Medicare Cover Laser Surgery

Sign Up: Within 8 Months After You Or Your Spouse Stop Working

  • Most people dont have to pay a premium for Part A . So, you may want to sign up for Part A when you turn 65, even if you or your spouse are still working.
  • Youll pay a monthly premium for Part B , so you may want to wait to sign up for Part B.

Avoid the penalty & gap in coverageIf you miss this 8-month Special Enrollment Period, youll have to wait to sign up and go months without coverage. You might also pay a monthly penalty for as long as you have Part B. The penalty goes up the longer you wait to sign up. How much is the Part B late enrollment penalty?

How Does Medicare Work With Tricare For Life

Tricare is the name of the health care program used by the United States Department of Defense, Military. It was originally called the Civilian Health and Medical Program of the Uniformed Services .

Tricare for Life is the name of one of the health care plans offered by Tricare. This program began in 2001 as a solution to rising out of pocket costs that Original Medicare beneficiaries were incurring. It was also meant to be an alternative to buying supplemental health care insurance.

The United States Department of Defense manages TFL and the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services manage Original Medicare. These two agencies work together to coordinate the health care benefits of retirees 65 and older, or adults of any age with disabilities or end-stage renal disease.

Who is eligible for Tricare for Life?

You and your family are eligible for TFL coverage if you are listed as eligible for military health benefits in the Defense Enrollment Eligibility System and have Original Medicare Part B . To be registered in DEERS, one of the following situations must apply to you:

You are a member of the United States military. You are a member of the National Guard or National Reserve of the U.S. You are a military survivor. Your former spouse was a member of the U.S. military. You are a Medal of Honor recipient.

Related articles:

Also Check: Does Medicare Pay For Private Duty Nursing

More articles

Popular Articles