TRICARE and You – Benefits for parents who are your dependents

This blog is the most recent in a series helping members of the Coast Guard family understand how to use their TRICARE benefits. The blog series will continue every Monday, right here on Coast Guard All Hands.

Written by Cmdr. Paul Fawcett

If they meet certain requirements, you may be able to claim parents or parents in laws as dependents. If you do claim your parents as dependents they may have certain TRICARE rights.

Claiming Parents as Dependents

In order for your parents to be eligible to be your dependents you must be paying more than half of their expenses. However, unlike your children, your parents do not need to live with you for over half the year for you to claim them. They may live in senior citizen’s residences or even in their own home. A few other key notes to consider: your parent must be a U.S. citizen in order for you to claim them, your parents’ gross income also must be less than $4,000 for you to claim them. For more information regarding claiming your parents as dependents visit the IRS website.

TRICARE Benefits for Dependent Parents

Your dependent parents are eligible to be seen in Department of Defense (DOD) medical facilities. They are also eligible to have their prescriptions filled at DOD pharmacies. Coast Guard medical facilities do not have the capacity to see dependents. In order to be eligible for this benefit your dependent parents must enroll in TRICARE Plus. TRICARE plus only covers primary care, but allows your dependent parents to access this care with no out-of-pocket costs. If the military treatment facility refers your dependent parent for specialty care you are responsible for the total cost of the care.

Enrollment of your dependent parents into the TRICARE Plus program does not meet the requirements of the Affordable Care Act. To ensure that you are in compliance with this requirement, and to enable your dependent parents to access specialty care, visit the Health Insurance Marketplace to enroll them in a plan.


You’ll need to enroll your dependent parents in the Defense Eligibility Enrollment System (DEERS) so that they can access TRICARE Plus. Documentation needed to enroll a dependent parent in DEERS includes the member’s birth certificate or spouse’s birth certificate if enrolling a parent-in-law, a copy of the financial dependency determination, and two forms of ID for the new enrollee. Your dependent parents are then eligible for enrollment to TRICARE plus and may also receive a military identification card. For more information about enrolling dependents into DEERS, visit the DEERS website.

Enrolling your dependent parents into the TRICARE Plus program allows you to provide convenient primary care for them at DOD treatment facilities. If you or your dependents receive their care at a Military Treatment Facility, you’ll be able to get primary care for your parents at that same location. If you have questions regarding this program you should visit your DOD Military Treatment Facility or call your TRICARE Contractor.

As always, for TRICARE questions, please contact the USCG Health Benefits Assistance line at 1-800-9-HBA-HBA or You can also leave us a comment below!


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