Certificates Help Those Losing TRICARE Eligibility
From Air Force News

Effective Feb 1, 2004, the Department of the Department of Defense Military Health System began automatically issuing a Certificate of Creditable Coverage to any former uniformed services sponsor or family member who loses eligibility for health care benefits under TRICARE.

In the military retiree community, this affects those individuals who lose eligibility because of divorce or a dependent child reaching age 21 (23 for full-time students).

For persons no longer TRICARE-eligible, the certificate serves as proof of previous health care coverage and limits the time another health care plan may exclude them from participating in a health care plan due to a preexisting medical condition.

The Defense Manpower Data Center Support Office (DSO), custodian of the Defense Enrollment Eligibility Reporting System (DEERS), will mail a certificate for the sponsor or family member within 5 to 10 days after eligibility has been lost. As long as a current address is on file in DEERS, members may expect to receive the certificate within 30 days.

Sponsors or family members needing to expedite receipt of a certificate may mail or fax a request to the DSO. The request should include the sponsor's name and Social Security number, name of family member(s) for whom the certificate is needed, reason for the urgent request, name and address of the person or organization where the certificate should be sent, and finally, signature of the requester.

The request may be faxed to the DSO at (831) 655-8317 or mailed to Defense Manpower Data Center Support Office (DSO), Attn: Certificate of Creditable Coverage, 400 Gigling Road, Seaside, CA 93955-6771.

Sponsors or family members who have questions regarding the certificate may contact the DSO at (800) 538-9552, or TTY/TDD at (866) 363-2883. Additional information is also available on the TRICARE Web site at http://www.tricare.osd.mil/certificate/index.cfm.