TRICARE Young Adult: What You Need to Know

FA Tricare Young Adult 1200x630

Many military families will celebrate as their young adult children graduate from college throughout May. However, it’s important to pause the festivities long enough to ensure that your child’s health coverage isn’t interrupted. TRICARE only covers young adult dependents up to age 21 or 23 if they are enrolled in college. If your child is 21 or older, their TRICARE coverage ends on their graduation date.

What is TRICARE Young Adult?

If families want to extend their young adult child’s TRICARE coverage, there is an option. TRICARE Young Adult (TYA) 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 anytime—they do not need to wait until the Open Season. Families can contact their regional Managed Care Support Contractors or visit the milconnect website for more information and to enroll.

Main Drawback

The main drawback to TRICARE Young Adult? Its cost. Unlike other TRICARE plans, TYA beneficiaries cover the full cost of the program – there is no Department of Defense (DoD) subsidy. That means that TYA is significantly more expensive than other TRICARE plans. For 2024, the monthly premium for TRICARE Young Adult Select is $311. TRICARE Young Adult Prime costs $637 per month. There may be other, more cost-effective options. 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 learn about insurance plans available through your state.

NMFA Wants Change

You may wonder 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 ensure 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.