What Tricare Do Reservists Get? – Benefits & Eligibility Explained

by | UCMJ | 1 comment

Navigating the world of military benefits can feel like a labyrinth, especially when you’re a reservist. You’ve dedicated part of your life to serving your country, and understanding the healthcare benefits available to you is crucial. Tricare, the health care program for uniformed service members, retirees, and their families, extends its coverage to reservists as well. But what exactly does that entail?

If you’re a reservist, knowing the specifics of your Tricare benefits can save you a lot of headaches down the line. Whether you’re activated, drilling, or in a non-active status, the type of Tricare coverage you’re eligible for can vary. Let’s dive into the details and demystify the healthcare options available to you through Tricare. With the right information, you’ll be better equipped to make informed decisions about your health care coverage.

Understanding Tricare for Reservists

Navigating healthcare coverage as a reservist involves understanding the specific Tricare options available to you. Your status—activated, drilling, or non-active—plays a crucial role in determining your eligibility and the type of Tricare coverage you can access.

Types of Tricare Coverage

  1. Tricare Reserve Select (TRS):
  • Offers comprehensive health care coverage similar to Tricare Select.
  • Available to all non-active reservists not covered under the Transitional Assistance Management Program (TAMP).
  • Requires monthly premiums and co-pays.
  1. Tricare Retired Reserve (TRR):
  • Designed for retired reservists under the age of 60.
  • Provides a health plan option before eligibility for Medicare.
  • Involves premiums that are higher than TRS.
  1. Transitional Assistance Management Program (TAMP):
  • Provides 180 days of premium-free coverage for reservists and their families transitioning to civilian life.
  • Eligibility kicks in after active duty service of more than 30 consecutive days.

Eligibility Requirements

  • For TRS, you must be a member of the Selected Reserve and not qualify for or enrolled in the Federal Employees Health Benefits (FEHB) program.
  • TRR eligibility requires being a retired reservist under 60, not eligible for, or enrolled in FEHB.
  • Eligibility for TAMP depends on your service and separation status, usually following deployment or mobilization.
  • Enrollment in TRS and TRR can be completed online through the Tricare website or by phone.
  • TAMP does not require enrollment; eligibility is automatically determined based on service records.

Understanding these options ensures you choose the best Tricare coverage for your needs and circumstances. Remember, eligibility and benefits vary, so reviewing your status and options periodically is essential. Start by visiting the official Tricare website or contacting a Tricare representative for the most current information and guidance tailored to your situation.

Tricare Reserve Select

Tricare Reserve Select (TRS) stands out as a premier healthcare plan tailored specifically for members of the Reserve Component who are not on active duty or covered under the Transitional Assistance Management Program (TAMP). It’s designed to offer comprehensive health coverage akin to Tricare Standard and Extra for active-duty members, but with the flexibility and affordability that suits the unique needs of reservists and their families.

Eligibility for TRS extends to all members of the Selected Reserve of the Ready Reserve who are not eligible for or enrolled in the Federal Employees Health Benefits (FEHB) program. This includes reservists who are drilling and not on active duty orders, offering a vital safety net for those not covered by military health benefits on a day-to-day basis.

Enrolling in TRS requires a few straightforward steps. You must first ensure that you’re registered in the Defense Enrollment Eligibility Reporting System (DEERS). Then, you can complete the TRS application process through the Tricare website or by contacting your regional contractor. Monthly premiums for TRS, though subject to annual adjustments, provide affordable options compared to civilian health plans, with cost-sharing measures that are clearly outlined by Tricare.

Coverage under TRS encompasses a wide range of medical services including preventative care, emergency services, hospitalization, mental health services, and prescriptions, ensuring that reservists and their families have access to comprehensive care when they need it most. It’s essential, however, to remain mindful of the annual enrollment periods and any potential changes in eligibility or coverage benefits to maintain uninterrupted access to healthcare.

By opting for Tricare Reserve Select, you’re choosing a healthcare path that supports your service lifestyle, offering the flexibility needed to manage both civilian and military responsibilities effectively. This plan represents a critical component of the military’s commitment to ensuring the health and well-being of its reservists and their families, providing peace of mind amidst the unpredictabilities of reserve life.

Tricare Retired Reserve

Building on the understanding of Tricare benefits for reservists, particularly under the Tricare Reserve Select and the Transitional Assistance Management Program, it’s crucial to dive deeper into the Tricare Retired Reserve (TRR). TRR stands as a premium-based health plan specifically designed for retired reservists under the age of 60, not yet eligible for Tricare coverage as military retirees. This coverage fills a vital gap, ensuring continuous healthcare coverage for those who’ve transitioned from their service yet await retirement benefits.

Eligibility for TRR is straightforward, targeting members of the Retired Reserve who aren’t eligible for or enrolled in the Federal Employees Health Benefits (FEHB) program. This criterion ensures that retired reservists, who have dedicated years to service and are not actively drilling, still receive comprehensive healthcare coverage. Unlike Tricare Reserve Select, TRR extends its eligibility to both the retired reservists themselves and their family members, reflecting the program’s commitment to safeguarding the well-being of the service member’s entire family.

Enrolling in TRR includes navigating through the Defense Enrollment Eligibility Reporting System (DEERS), similar to other Tricare plans, followed by completion of the TRR application and paying the required premiums. These premiums, although higher compared to the Tricare Reserve Select, provide access to a range of medical, dental, and pharmacy benefits mirroring those available to active-duty families under Tricare Select.

TRR benefits encompass inpatient and outpatient services, preventive care, prescriptions, maternity care, and mental health services, among others. Its comprehensive coverage ensures that retired reservists and their families maintain access to high-quality healthcare services across a broad spectrum of care needs. Opting for TRR as a healthcare plan underscores a commitment to protecting the health and welfare of retired reservists and their families, bridging the gap until they become eligible for Tricare coverage as military retirees.

As part of managing one’s transition from active military service to retirement, understanding the benefits and enrollment process of TRR is crucial. It represents a critical step in securing uninterrupted, high-quality healthcare coverage, highlighting the importance of staying informed about available Tricare options for both service members and their families.

Additional Options for Reservists

After exploring Tricare Reserve Select (TRS) and Tricare Retired Reserve (TRR), it’s crucial to delve into other coverage alternatives available to reservists and their families, ensuring you make informed decisions about your healthcare. Understanding the full spectrum of options helps optimize benefits and adapt to changing family or health situations.

Tricare Dental Program (TDP)

The Tricare Dental Program is a voluntary, premium-based dental insurance plan for reservists, their families, and members of the National Guard not on active duty orders. TDP offers comprehensive dental coverage, including preventive care, diagnostics, and orthodontics, aiming to maintain oral health and readiness for service. Coverage extends globally, though services may vary by location.

Tricare Vision Benefits

Reservists enrolled in a Tricare health plan also have access to vision benefits, covering routine eye exams and allowances for corrective eyewear. These benefits are particularly beneficial for reservists and their dependents, offering care through a network of qualified optometrists and ophthalmologists. Vision coverage details depend on the specific Tricare plan you’re enrolled in, so verifying your benefits is advisable.

Federal Long Term Care Insurance Program (FLTCIP)

For reservists seeking long-term care options, the Federal Long Term Care Insurance Program presents a solution. FLTCIP provides coverage for costs associated with long-term care services, such as assistance with daily living activities or care in facilities like nursing homes. Eligibility extends to reservists and their qualified family members, providing peace of mind for future care needs.

Pharmacy Benefits

Tricare’s pharmacy benefits are an essential component, offering access to prescription medications at military pharmacies, through the Tricare Pharmacy Home Delivery, or at Tricare retail network pharmacies. This benefit ensures reservists and their dependents can obtain necessary medications affordably, supporting overall health and readiness.

By acquainting yourself with these additional options, you enhance your ability to navigate the complexities of healthcare coverage as a reservist. Regularly reviewing your benefits and staying informed about changes in Tricare offerings can optimize your coverage to meet your and your family’s health needs effectively.

Navigating Tricare as a Reservist

Navigating Tricare as a reservist involves understanding the nuances of various plans and determining which coverage best suits your needs and circumstances. Tricare offers reservists and their families access to a range of health care options, each tailored to different stages of military service and life.

Key Health Plans for Reservists

  • Tricare Reserve Select (TRS): Designed for qualified Reserve members and their families, TRS is a cost-effective, comprehensive health care option that offers coverage similar to Tricare Select for active-duty families. Enrollment is voluntary and requires a monthly premium.
  • Tricare Retired Reserve (TRR): TRR caters to retired reservists under the age of 60, providing extensive health coverage until they are eligible for Tricare as military retirees. It’s premium-based and extends to eligible family members.
  • Transitional Assistance Management Program (TAMP): TAMP offers 180 days of premium-free, transitional health care benefits to reservists who are separating from active duty under specific conditions, ensuring a smoother transition to civilian life.
  • Tricare Dental Program (TDP): TDP provides comprehensive dental care for reservists and their family members, requiring separate enrollment and monthly premiums.
  • Tricare Vision Benefits: These benefits cover routine eye exams and other vision-related services, available to eligible TRS and TRR members who meet specific criteria.
  • Federal Long Term Care Insurance Program (FLTCIP): FLTCIP offers long-term care insurance to reservists and their eligible family members, helping cover costs not typically covered by health plans.
  • Tricare Pharmacy Benefits: This program ensures reservists and their families have access to affordable prescription medications, with coverage varying by the selected Tricare plan.

Understanding these options enables you to make informed decisions about your healthcare, ensuring you and your family receive the necessary coverage. Always review your eligibility and the specifics of each plan, as Tricare’s offerings can adapt to changing regulations and healthcare needs. Staying informed and proactive in managing your Tricare benefits guarantees you maximize your entitlements and meet your health objectives efficiently.


Navigating your Tricare benefits as a reservist can significantly impact your healthcare journey and that of your family. By understanding the ins and outs of options like Tricare Reserve Select, Transitional Assistance Management Program, and Tricare Retired Reserve, you’re better equipped to make choices that align with your needs. Remember, exploring additional benefits such as dental, vision, and pharmacy coverage can further enhance your healthcare experience. Stay informed and proactive in managing your Tricare benefits to ensure you’re maximizing your entitlements and meeting your health objectives with confidence.



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