Leaving the military? Make sure you meet MEC or it could cost you



Transitioning from military active duty to civilian status may have you wondering what will happen to your health care. Transitioning military families have options.

Keep in mind that before you leave active duty status, you need to be proactive about ensuring you and your family have health care that meets minimum essential coverage (MEC) as required by the Affordable Care Act. If you don’t, you may have to pay a fee for each month you’re not covered.

The first program available to transitioning military and their families is the Transitional Assistance Management Program (TAMP). This program offers 180 days of premium-free transitional health care benefits and begins the day after you separate from active duty. TAMP eligibility is determined by the services and reflected in the Defense Enrollment Eligibility Reporting System (DEERS). For more information, visit here.

After TAMP eligibility ends, or if you’re not eligible for TAMP, you may be eligible for the Continued Health Care Benefit Program (CHCBP). This is another transitional health care option for transitioning military and their families. This program allows beneficiaries to continue health coverage by providing 18 to 36 months of temporary premium-based coverage. For more information about CHCBP, check it out here.

Whether you’re using TRICARE Prime, TRICARE Select or the US Family Health Plan, leaving active duty requires planning, so don’t forget to plan ahead for your health care. Remember, if you don’t have minimum essential coverage, you may have to pay a fee for each month that you aren’t covered after leaving active duty. For more information about TRICARE plans that meet MEC, visit here.

One more reminder. Your SGLI life insurance ends 120 days after your last day of service. As with your health coverage, you’ll want to find affordable life insurance protection to replace it.

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