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Today’s retired military personnel have Tricare for Life for themselves and their family.  Many go on to work in the civilian sector and are also covered by a commercial or work-provided healthcare policy.  What happens to their coverage, if they end their second career and go on Social Security?

If they are receiving Social Security, Medicare becomes their primary insurance.  However, if they continue their private insurance, that insurance is their primary insurance and Medicare is secondary.  Medicare will not pay primary medical claims, nor will Tricare.  This is the case for most retired military personnel.

  • Are you about to retire and use Social Security?  Be sure to notify Medicare when you fully retire and drop your private insurance.  This will remove that carrier’s name from your claims records.
  • What happens when you forget?  Medicare will reject your doctor’s claim.  The central claims processing section will see a private carrier as your primary provider.  Tricare will also reject the claim.  They do this because Medicare has rejected the claim.  Cancelling a policy or coverage does not notify Medicare.  That is your responsibility.
  • Learn more by visiting the Tricare for Life site for program information.

Another related item is the supplemental program for prescriptions.  If you have Tricare for Life, Tricare can provide your prescriptions (with a copay).  This satisfies the Medicare rules for prescription coverage.  Learn more

An important function of veterans fraternal groups is service to fellow veterans, their widows and their families.  We meet a lot of people and we often find that they need answers to these and other important questions. It could be about VA care, assisted living, death benefits, Medicare, and VA claims.  We are not experts, but an informed member can better assist others.  We should be able to provide basic information and then point a veteran in the right direction for the help they need.