For a recent document on Your Military Retirement, click here

Having just gone through the process for my retirement ID & TRICARE this Jan 2007, here's what I found:

When you get your orders, take all your paperwork to a military center that issues ID cards as soon as possible and get entered into the system, even if you are not yet 60.  You may need to return after your birthday to complete the process.  You can find your closest Retirement Services Officers - RSO - at the following website:  The reason:  To check everything is in order.

60 - 65: Once you get processed with your retirement ID, you are automatically entered into basic TRICARE coverage, and can use your ID to get prescriptions & have medical bills sent/billed to TRICARE. If your physician does not subscribe, then get a bill, make a copy & send it in.  Found out that CVS has an agreement with TRICARE for prescriptions, just talk to the pharmacist & show your card.  But, for an additional $460/year, you can get TRICARE Plus AS LONG AS you get your medical care from a PRIMARY SOURCE.  In my case, this means driving from Lebanon to Carlisle.  Of course, if this is your only medical coverage, I'd travel as the cost is so low.

65 & over:  Before age 65, you must enroll in Medicare Parts A & B.  TRICARE is now free for life.  Also, have your ID card updated to reflect that you have Medicare A & B.

A spouse is covered under you for life, but you must initially sign up your spouse with the ID card, which must be renewed ever 4 years and at the time of any additions of Medicare until age 75, after which your spouse is good for life.  Spouse is still covered if you die first.  In addition to your military orders, take along a birth certificate, marriage license and social security card for your spouse.

IMPORTANT!  If you are going to use TRICARE benefits, DO NOT GET PART D MEDICARE!  TRICARE is a CREDIBLE INSURANCE program, and as such will NOT work to your benefit if you get Part D.  In fact, if you have any credible medical insurance, you do NOT need Part D.

There is a Dental Plan available for which you need to pay; just ask for information at any military medical facility.

Here is a printable file with more information, including where to file forms.  Notice that where you file depends upon if you have TRICARE (under 65) or TRICARE for Life (over 65).

Several military posts do a retirement day event, at which time there usually is a TRICARE seminar.

The TRICARE website is

If you are 60 - 65, you are covered under Healthnet:

If you are over 65, you are covered under TRICARE for Life.

Use this link if you are located in the northeast and are new to TRICARE.

To contact TRICARE Regional Office North, call 877- 874-2273

More information: TRICARE Pharmacy page , DD 2642 Form

One precaution:  My retirement orders were incomplete in that I had not been released from the gray area into the retirement area.  Lucky for me, this was fixed in two days.  So, when you get papers from the military, SAVE THEM!  Make copies or scan them into your computer.  Finally, double check to confirm that your information on all documents is correct, especially your social security number.

Are you covered by another health care provider?  TRICARE is your primary or secondary insurance, depending on what version of TRICARE you have.  TRICARE Standard is your secondary insurer.

MILITARY PAYROLL - 800-321-1080

NOW FOR THE AGE 65 TRANSITION.  This one was a shocker for me, as I am deferring taking Social Security until age 66.  However, you must apply for Medicare A & B three months before you turn 65, get the card & go to the DEERS military ID section on a military base and have your card updated.  Now, your military ID card is good for life!

Here's the catch:  If you get Social Security together or before you apply for Medicare, then they will bill you monthly by taking the Part B out of your SS check.  If you wait, like I did so that I can get 100% at age 66 [this is different depending on your DOB], they send you a bill for three months.  Problem is, nowhere on the bill did it say this was for three months!  So, I'm thinking that I'm getting charged - way over charged.  So, I called the 800# on the letter, patiently waited for a real person and explained the issue.  My info was taken, I was put on hold, and finally I'm told that the bill is for three months.  I can finally exhale and not call 911 for a heart attack!  However, I was careful to write on the bill: 'For Jan, Feb & Mar of 2012', then scan the bill & save an electronic copy.

Pass this information on to anyone else you know who is deferring SS payments to help avoid heart attacks!  Finally, I'm done until next October when I apply for SS, and I'm starting as early as possible!

New TRICARE Standard handbook (from Jan 2007 Army Echoes)

New March 2008!  Use this link for the 2008 TRICARE Publication

TRICARE is making a new, more detailed, handbook available to all beneficiaries covered under TRICARE Standard.

Although the handbook is full of useful data from what’s covered to how to file a claim, it does not include cost information.  Because of annual cost changes, TRICARE created a separate summary of beneficiary costs flyer.  TRICARE will update the flyer whenever the rates change.

Beneficiaries can call your regional contractor for copies of the handbook or the summary of beneficiary costs flyer at the following toll-free telephone numbers:

North region, 1-877-874-2273
South region, 1-800-444-5445
West region, 1-888-874-9378

Beneficiaries may also obtain the documents from a local TRICARE Service Center or view and download them at  Basic information on TRICARE Standard and other fact sheets are available at

Done?  OK, now enjoy retirement!

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