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TRICARE eligibility requires DEERS enrollment for newborns

FALLS CHURCH, Va. -- TRICARE offers a variety of health plans designed to provide the best quality of care for parents and their babies.

However, if children are not properly registered in the Defense Enrollment Eligibility Reporting System, they risk losing their TRICARE benefits, program officials said.

"TRICARE Management Activity provides the best health care possible to support your newborn's needs," said James Frank, the DEERS in-process review program manager. "All you need to do is register your child in DEERS as soon as possible and the benefit process will work as planned."

Newborns and adopted children must be registered in DEERS before they can be enrolled in any TRICARE health plans. Parents do not need to know their child's social security number to complete the registration process, but they need to add the number in DEERS when it becomes available. Parents can apply for their newborn's social security number at www.ssa.gov or by calling 800-772-1213.

To register their child in DEERS, parents must submit the following documents to their local identification card office:

-- An original or certified copy of the baby's birth certificate or certificate of live birth, or an FS-240 consular report of birth for children who are overseas
-- A record of adoption or a letter of placement of the child into the home by a recognized placement/adoption agency or the court before the final adoption
-- A DOD Form 1172-2, application for ID card/DEERS enrollment, signed by the sponsor and a verifying official from a uniformed services ID card-issuing facility. If the sponsor can't sign the DOD Form 1172-2 in person at an ID card facility, then a notarized copy of the document is required.

If children are not enrolled in TRICARE Prime within 60 days after their birth, they are automatically covered under TRICARE Standard and Extra until a full year after their birth. If parents do not register their child in DEERS within one year of birth, the child loses eligibility and cannot receive TRICARE benefits until he or she has been registered. To find the nearest ID card office, parents can visit the real-time automated personnel identification system, or RAPIDS, site locator website at www.dmdc.osd.mil/rsl/.  

Children are covered under TRICARE Prime for 60 days after their birth if at least one family member is enrolled. Parents should submit an enrollment application to their regional contractor within 60 days of the child's birth so the child remains eligible for Prime benefits beyond the initial coverage period. Adopted children are covered under Prime for 60 days beginning from the effective date of the actual adoption. Pre-adoptive children are covered by Prime for 60 days beginning on the date of placement of the court or an approved adoption agency.

The enrollment period for the TRICARE Overseas Program and TRICARE Prime Remote is extended to 120 days so that parents who live abroad can have ample time to satisfy overseas eligibility requirements for newborns. Once a child is registered in DEERS, the parent should have no problem getting health care for their newborn. For more information about DEERS, visit www.tricare.osd.mil/deers.