Transitioning from the military to the civilian world can be a stressful time, and the last thing you want to worry about is health care coverage for you and your family. That is why the military offers two programs to help transitioning military members maintain high quality health care coverage when they leave the military. The first program is the Transitional Assistance Management Program (TAMP), which we will cover in this article, and the other is the Continued Health Care Benefit Program (CHCBP), which we will cover in a different article.
Transitional Assistance Management Program (TAMP)
The Transitional Assistance Management Program (TAMP) is a short term medical care program which offers 180 days of health care benefits to military members and their families when they separate from the uniformed services.
These benefits are designed to help military members and their families who are transitioning from the military on short notice or involuntarily (see separation requirements below). This program is offers 6 months of coverage, which can help bridge the gap in insurance coverage until the member and his family can secure health care coverage through a civilian employer or through an individual health care plan after they leave the service.
Transitional Assistance Management Program Eligibility
Not all servicemembers qualify for TAMP upon separation from active duty status. Qualification is based on the reason for the separation from the military (see below) and requires an Honorable Discharge. You will need to prove your discharge characterization with your Certificate of Release from Active Duty, or DD form 214.
If you are eligible for TAMP, it should show up in your DEERS profile – contact your base personnel unit, or medical office for more information. This program is also not available to those who are serving on terminal leave – you will continue to be covered by TRICARE until your official separation date. Your TAMP benefits period will begin the day after you officially separate from active duty – so it’s important to do your research in advance so you know whether or not you will qualify for the program, and to give you time to apply.
Eligible reasons for separation from the military. This program is designed to help military members who might not have otherwise had time to prepare for the transition to the civilian world, as you can see by reasons for separation listed below. According to TRICARE.mil, military members are eligible for the TAMP when they separate from the military under the following conditions:
- Involuntarily separating from active duty under honorable conditions
- A National Guard or Reserve member separating from a period of active duty that was more than 30 consecutive days in support of a contingency operation
- Separating from active duty following involuntary retention (stop-loss) in support of a contingency operation
- Separating from active duty following a voluntary agreement to stay on active duty for less than one year in support of a contingency operation
- Receiving a sole survivorship discharge
- Separating from active duty and agree to become a member of the Selected Reserve of the Ready Reserve of a Reserve Component.
National Guard and Reserve members who are demobilized after serving less than 30 consecutive days on active duty do not qualify for TAMP.
If you do not qualify for the Transitional Assistance Management Program, you may still be eligible for the Continued Health Care Benefit Program (CHCBP), which is similar to a civilian COBRA benefits program. The Continued Health Care Benefit Program offers health insurance for 18-36 months after TRICARE eligibility ends and is open to military members and their families, including those who lose TRICARE eligibility through divorce, or when children lose eligibility because they get married or become too old. Certain military veterans may also be eligible for VA health care benefits depending on their status, service record, and other criteria.
TAMP Coverage, Cost, and Enrollment
The Transitional Assistance Management Program does not charge an enrollment fee for qualified servicemembers or their families. Eligible participants can be enrolled in TRICARE Prime or TRICARE Prime Overseas. If TRICARE Prime isn’t available in your area, you will automatically be enrolled in TRICARE Standard and Extra or TRICARE Standard Overseas.
Coverage and cost: Those receiving TAMP benefits will receive the same benefits as active duty members and will be subject to the same rules for that beneficiary category, including any applicable deductibles, cost-shares and copayments. Transitional Assistance Management Program participants will be issued a DoD ID card displaying their eligibility for 180 days of medical care.
Enrollment: Because you will be leaving the active duty TRICARE system, you will need to re-enroll in TRICARE under the TAMP qualifications by completing a new enrollment form. It is recommended to complete your enrollment form while on active duty, to ensure a seamless transition. Enrollment is retroactive to your separation date.
More information: If you are separating from the military soon, or believe you may qualify for this program, then contact your personnel department or visit the TRICARE site for more information.
Maintaining Your Health Coverage is Essential
Maintaining your health care coverage is important for several reasons – the first of which is the obvious one, to pay for any major medical bills. But another reason many people aren’t aware of is to maintain continuous medical coverage, which is important when you are obtaining a new insurance plan, especially if you are obtaining an individual health care plan or if you have preexisting medical conditions.