TRICARE Young Adult: Is It Right for Your Child?

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Throughout May, many military families will be celebrating as their young adult children graduate from college. However, it’s important to pause the festivities long enough to ensure that your child’s health coverage isn’t interrupted.

TRICARE Quick Facts

  • TRICARE only covers young adult dependents up to age 21, or 23 if they are enrolled in college.
  • Your child’s TRICARE coverage ends on their graduation date.
  • There is an option if families want to extend their young adult child’s TRICARE coverage—but it isn’t cost efficient for many.

TRICARE Young Adult Coverage

TRICARE Young Adult is a premium-based program available to unmarried young adults up to age 26 who are not eligible for their own employer-based insurance plans. Young adults can sign up for TRICARE Young Adult at any time—they do not need to wait until Open Season. Families can contact their regional Managed Care Support Contractors or visit the milconnect website for more information and to enroll.

Be aware that TRICARE Young Adult may not be the most cost-effective option for your child. The Department of Defense (DoD) doesn’t cover any of the cost for TRICARE Young Adult, so it is more expensive than most TRICARE plans. Enrollees pay monthly premiums that are set annually. For 2023, the monthly premium for TRICARE Young Adult Select is $291. TRICARE Young Adult Prime beneficiaries are charged $570 per month.

If your child is enrolled in college or graduate school, check to see if their university offers an insurance plan. You can also visit to find out about insurance plans available through your state.

Health Care Fairness for Military Families

You may be wondering why military families have to worry about their young adult children’s health coverage, while civilian insurers automatically cover young adults up to age 26 on their parents’ plans. We wonder the same thing. It’s not fair for military families to have to shoulder this additional cost or worry about their young adult children going without health care coverage.

We support the Health Care Fairness for Military Families Act (H.R. 1045/S. 956), which would require TRICARE to automatically cover young adult children up to age 26. We’re pushing Congress to pass this important legislation, but we need your help. Call your Representative or Senator and let them know how important this bill is to your military family.

Together, we can make sure that our young adult military kids, who sacrifice so much during their service member parent’s military career, have the health care coverage they need and deserve.

By: Angela Sablan Tenorio, Content Manager