A Complete Guide to Tricare Retired Reserve

Retired Guard and Reserve health care options differ from plans available to active duty members and retirees. Learn about your healthcare options when you retire, including Tricare, employer-sponsored healthcare plans, and health care options from Private Exchanges.
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Picture of american eagle and stethoscope with the words "Retired Guard & Reserve Health Care Options"

Members of the Guard and Reserves have different healthcare options than active duty service members and active duty retirees. 

Non-activated Guard and Reserve members are eligible for Tricare Reserve Select, but if you retire from the Reserves early, you lose access to Tricare Reserve Select and gain access to another plan called Tricare Retired Reserve (TRR). 

Compared to other Tricare plans, Tricare Retired Reserve is notably more expensive. We’ve created this guide to review TRR 2024 premium costs, eligibility, benefits, and plan alternatives so you can decide whether it’s worth the investment. 

Tricare Retired Reserve Cost for 2024 

The following Tricare Retired Reserve premium costs are valid from January 1st, 2024, through December 31st, 2024. 

CoverageMonthly Premium
Service Member Only$585.24 per month
Service Member + Dependents$1,406.22 per month 

Tricare Retired Reserve Healthcare Plan Cost Breakdown 

The Retired Reserve Tricare plan includes a Catastrophic Cap, which is the most you (and any covered dependents) are allowed to pay out of pocket for covered health services. 

The 2024 Catastrophic Cap for the Tricare Retired Reserve plan is $4,399 per family. 

Money that you or any covered dependents spend on copayments, deductibles, and fees for covered services and pharmacy costs count towards the Catastrophic Cap. If you or your family spend more than $4,399 on covered services in a calendar year, your plan will kick in to cover the rest. Keep in mind that premium payments do not count towards the Catastrophic Cap. 

TRR has an annual in-network deductible of $188 per member and $377 per family. For out-of-network care, the annual deductible is $377 per member and $754 per family. A deductible is the amount of money you have to pay before your insurance starts helping with the bills. They typically apply to bigger medical bills, such as hospital stays, surgeries, or major treatments, rather than routine doctor visits or minor medical expenses.

Let’s take a look at the Tricare Retired Reserve cost breakdown for covered services:  

Covered Services In Network CostOut of Network Cost
Primary Care Visit $3125%
Speciality Care Visit$5025%
Urgent Care Visit$5025%
Mental Health Visit$3125%
Emergency Room Visit$10025%
X-Ray and Laboratory $025%
Ambulance$75 25%
Hospitalization$21925%

For out-of-network providers, the coinsurance cost is 25%, meaning you have to pay 25% of the bill, and TRR will cover the other 75%. 

You can find a complete list of TRR pharmacy costs and cost information for covered services on this page.  

Why is Tricare Retired Reserve so expensive? 

Many service members note how high the premiums are for the Tricare Retried Reserve plan in comparison to Tricare Prime and Tricare Select. For example, the 2024 monthly premium for Tricare Select is $51.95 for an individual and $255.87 per month for a family — about 10 times as expensive as the current Tricare Retired Reserve premiums. 

The DoD has not released an official explanation. However, Tricare Retired Reserve may be priced higher because the majority of Reserve members who qualify for it are gray area retirees. Gray area retirement is a term that describes Guard and Reserve members who retired before age 60, which is when they become eligible for retirement pay and healthcare benefits.  

The higher prices for Tricare Retired Reserve might be a way for the DoD to encourage Reserve members to continue drilling instead of retiring before age 60. Retired Reserve members are eligible for Tricare Prime or Select from age 60 until age 65, when they would transition to Tricare for Life.  

Who is Eligible for Tricare Retired Reserve?

When you retire from the Guard or Reserve component, the Tricare plan you are eligible for is dependent on your age. 

You are eligible for the Tricare Retired Reserve plan if you are a retired Reserve or Guard member under the age of 60. Other eligible participants include family members of qualified Reserve retirees and eligible survivors of Reserve retirees. 

Survivors are eligible if: 

  • The Reserve retiree was covered by TRR when they died
  • They are immediate family members of the deceased Reserve retiree 
  • They are a Surviving spouse (who has not remarried)
  • The TRR coverage would begin before the deceased service member’s 60th birthday 

TRR applicants also cannot be enrolled in the Federal Employees Health Benefits (FEHB) Program.

If you are between ages 60 to 64, you are eligible for Tricare Prime or Tricare Select. Note that Reserve retirees are only eligible for Tricare Prime if they live within a certain distance of a military installation or regional healthcare center. If you live outside of a designated area, you would only be eligible for Tricare Select. 

Once you turn 65, you become eligible for Tricare for Life, a Medicare Supplemental Insurance Program. 

If you are living overseas, you should contact Tricare Overseas customer service to learn more about your eligibility. Guard and Reserve members living overseas can qualify for Tricare Retired Reserve, but Tricare Overseas will handle your enrollment. 

Guard or Reserve retirees who were on active duty at the time of retirement may also be eligible for the Transition Assistance Management Program (TAMP) or the Continued Healthcare Benefit Program (CHCBP). These supplemental healthcare programs help ensure that service members don’t experience a lapse in coverage during transitionary periods. 

Tricare Retired Reserve Benefits 2024

Tricare Retired Reserve’s plan benefits don’t differ much from Tricare Select or Prime plans. TRR offers many covered care options, including primary and specialty care visits, emergency services, and mental health coverage. However, for vision and dental coverage, Guard and Reserve retirees will have to seek care outside of the TRR plan. 

Mental Health Coverage

Mental health and therapy services are included in the Tricare Retired Reserve plan with applicable copayment and deductible fees. Covered services include inpatient stays, mental health outpatient visits, residential treatment facility (RTF) stays, and in-patient hospitalization. 

Is Dental and Vision Coverage Included?

Dental coverage is considered an add-on and is not included in the Tricare Retired Reserve plan. Prior to November 2018, Military dental care was offered through the Tricare Retiree Dental Program (TRDP), however, this plan is now closed. 

As of 2024, retired Guard and Reserve members can find dental and vision coverage through the Federal Employee Dental and Vision Insurance Program (FEDVIP). All retired Reserve members and their families are eligible for dental coverage through FEDVIP, but only retired Reserve members enrolled in a Tricare health plan can get FEDVIP vision coverage. 

How To Enroll for Tricare Retired Reserve

You can enroll for Tricare Retired Reserve online, over the phone, or in person. 

To apply for TRR online, go to the milConnect Web Portal and choose “manage health benefits.” You can login to the portal using your Common Access Card (CAC), DFAS (MyPay) Account or your DoD Self-Service Logon. 

To enroll for TRR over the phone, call the East or West Region contractor number. If you live overseas, you can find the number for the country you’re living in on the Tricare Overseas website

RegionNumberStates Covered
East1(800) 444-5445Alabama, Arkansas, Connecticut, Delaware, the District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa (Rock Island area), Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri (St. Louis area), New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas (excluding El Paso area), Vermont, Virginia, West Virginia and Wisconsin.
West1(844) 866-9378Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Iowa (excluding Rock Island arsenal area), Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri (except St. Louis area), Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oregon, South Dakota, Texas (El Paso area), Utah, Washington and Wyoming.

Overseas Reserve members may also enroll for Tricare Retired Reserve in person at your nearest Tricare Service Center.

Is Tricare Retired Reserve worth it? 

Depending on your situation, it can be worth it to purchase Tricare Retired Reserve. 

If you do not have a current employer and can’t purchase coverage through your spouse’s employer, TRR could be your best option – especially if you are close to 60. Remember, once you reach 60, you can enroll in Tricare Prime or Tricare Select, which are considerably more affordable than Tricare Retired Reserve.

For further advice, you should contact a Tricare advisor. There should be one at each Military Treatment Facility, or you can find one nearest to you and contact them by phone

Alternatives to Tricare Retired Reserve

If Tricare Retired Reserve is out of your price range, it might pay to shop around for non-military health insurance

Your first move should be to check if your employer or your spouse’s employer offers health insurance. If that isn’t an option, you might be able to find more affordable care through healthcare.gov’s Health Insurance Marketplace (available in most states). 

If you can find a plan through Marketplace that is cheaper than Tricare Retired Reserve, you may be able to qualify for assistance to lower your monthly premium. Keep in mind that the assistance is only available if you’re not currently enrolled in a Tricare insurance plan. You can find more information here

Another alternative is a healthcare sharing ministry. Instead of traditional insurance premiums, members pay monthly “shares,” which are used to cover medical expenses for eligible members (with applicable guidelines and restrictions). These organizations also satisfy the federal mandate to maintain healthcare coverage.

You should thoroughly research healthcare sharing ministries to understand how they work and see if they could be a good option for what you need. 

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    These responses are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

    • Ryan Guina says

      Jacqueline, a Tricare Ombudsman is a liaison who helps members resolve complaints or other issues. Try contacting the Tricare customer service line if your local military installation doesn’t have someone specific for this role.

  1. Joanne W. Porcher says

    I am a retired Air Force Reservist of 30 years. I retired at age 60. I receive my check from the Air force monthly, what are my benefits with Tricare 4 life. I received information but have never asked what my benefits are. I turned 70 on February 18, 2020. I have been retired for 10 years now. I am still employed at my civilian job, and was scheduled to retire in June of this year after working there for 39 plus years. I presently receive SS Checks. I am in the Medicare system. Please let me know if I have any benefits with Tricare or it is only in effect after I retire from my civilian job.

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