By Anna Kim
Managed by the Defense Health Agency, TRICARE Young Adult is a health care plan for adult children once their plans end for the regular TRICARE program. The program strives to protect the health of young adults once they have turned 21, or 23 for those who are in college. Continue reading to learn more about TRICARE for young adults.

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TRICARE Young Adult Enrollment and Eligibility

In order to be enrolled in the plan, one must first be eligible. The individual must be 21 years old. For students in college, they’re eligible to be enrolled in the program once they turn 23. Students in college must:
  • Be enrolled full-time in an institution of higher learning.
  • Have a sponsor who pays more than half of their financial costs.
When the student turns 23 or when they are no longer in school, they will have to enroll in young adult TRICARE, but until then, the school needs to show proof of the student’s enrollment at school to TRICARE officials. Other qualifications for TRICARE Young Adult include being:
  • Under the age of 26 years old.
  • An adult child of a sponsor (those who are currently serving or have already served in the military).
  • Unmarried.
  • Ineligible for standard TRICARE.
  • Ineligible to enroll in another health plan from employment.
It is also important to note that one may enroll in TRICARE Young Adult without a proper identification card. However, the individual should get a new ID card once their coverage begins, as this will need to be shown at doctor’s appointments.

Prime vs. Select

You’ll have to choose between two options, Prime or Select, which determine how you get healthcare.

TRICARE Young Adult Prime

is for the kids of active-duty sponsors or for kids of retired sponsors in areas of the U.S. where TRICARE Prime is offered. However, if the sponsor is under TRICARE Retired Reserve or TRICARE Reserve Select, then the young adult may not choose Prime. One must pay TRICARE Prime copayments and monthly premiums. If one does not have a referral, then more fees may apply. TRICARE Young Adult Prime is similar to TRICARE Prime, where a primary care manager will be the one to give you care.

TRICARE Young Adult Select

is for any adult children who are dependent and are eligible for TRICARE Young Adult. One must pay cost shares, annual deductibles, and monthly premiums, but the cost will also depend on the military status of the sponsor. TRICARE Young Adult Select is similar to TRICARE Select, where the young adult can go to any provider authorized by TRICARE and you will not need referrals when receiving care.


The TRICARE Young Adult cost will be determined by the following:
  • The military status of the sponsor.
  • Whether you are enrolled in Prime or Select.
  • The area where the care is received.

Is TRICARE for Young Adults a Good Deal?

TRICARE Young Adult is a good deal for adult children who aren’t married and who are no longer eligible for the regular TRICARE program. While individuals eligible for health plans from employment can’t receive TRICARE Young Adult, those who are eligible will be able to enjoy the pharmacy and medical benefits that this coverage has to offer.

How To Cancel TRICARE for Young Adults

If one decides that they no longer want to be enrolled in this health plan, then at any time, they must fill out the TRICARE Young Adult Application and mail it to their U.S. Family Health Plan provider or regional contractor. Once canceled, they will not be able to enroll in the plan for a year. Other involuntary reasons that one’s plan might be canceled can be caused by one of the following:
  • Not paying the monthly premiums.
  • The individual marries.
  • The individual turns 26.
  • The individual gets other TRICARE coverage.
  • The individual is eligible for a health plan from employment.
  • The individual’s sponsor loses or ends TRICARE coverage.

Apply Now!

TRICARE Young Adult may be purchased by phone, online, or through fax or mail. If you qualify, apply now and make sure you know which plan (Prime or Select) you want to choose!

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