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TRICARE is coverage for active duty military and retired uniformed services officers and their families, administered by the Department of Defense.

TRICARE For Life (TFL) is expanded medical coverage for people eligible for both TRICARE and Medicare.

The following sections provide answers to common questions about how Medicare works for people with TRICARE.

I have TRICARE. Do I need to enroll in Medicare?

If you are eligible for both TRICARE and premium-free Medicare Part A, you will need to have Medicare Part B in most cases to remain eligible for TRICARE. The only exceptions are if:

  • Your sponsor is on active duty
  • You're enrolled in the US Family Health Plan
  • You're enrolled in TRICARE Reserve Select

If you fall into one of these categories, you are not required to have Medicare Part B to remain eligible for TRICARE.

When you have Medicare Parts A and B, you will be covered by TRICARE For Life, TRICARE's Medicare-wraparound coverage available to all Medicare-eligible TRICARE beneficiaries, regardless of age or place of residence.

When you first become eligible for Medicare, it is important that you talk to your TRICARE benefits administrator to learn how Medicare enrollment affects your coverage.

Find out more about eligibility for both Medicare and TRICARE. Or contact your DMDC Support Office at 1-800-538-9552.

I have TRICARE For Life. Who pays first: TFL or Medicare?

For services covered by both Medicare and TRICARE, Medicare pays first and TRICARE For Life pays your remaining coinsurance for TRICARE-covered services.

For services covered by TRICARE but not by Medicare, TRICARE For Life pays first and Medicare pays nothing. You must pay the TRICARE fiscal year deductible and cost shares.

Be aware, though, that by law, Medicare cannot pay for care at a government facility. When you use TRICARE For Life to receive care for a non-service-connected condition from a VA facility, even when the VA facility is in the TRICARE network, the VA cannot bill Medicare.

Learn more about coordination of benefits between TRICARE For Life and Medicare.

Still have questions? Get personal help with your situation.

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