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Q. How to keep your TRICARE coverage when you are reaching age 65.

A. By taking a few simple steps, you can make sure you have your TRICARE benefits after you turn 65.

Four months before your 65th birthday, you will receive a postcard from the Defense Manpower Data Center (DMDC), the office that supports the Defense Enrollment Eligibility Reporting System, with information about keeping TRICARE coverage after age 65. You must have Medicare Part A and Medicare Part B to be eligible for TRICARE For Life. TRICARE For Life is Medicare wrap around coverage for TRICARE beneficiaries who are entitled to Medicare Part A and have Medicare Part B regardless of where you live or your age.

The Medicare initial enrollment period is seven months. If you miss your initial enrollment period, your next chance to sign up for Medicare Part B is during the general enrollment period, Jan. 1-March 31. Your coverage will begin July 1, and your monthly premium for Part B may go up 10 percent for each 12-month period that you could have had Part B, but didn’t sign up for it. Also, there will be a lapse in your TRICARE coverage until Part B is effective. Be sure to sign up for Part B no later than two months before your 65th birthday. If you do not receive a postcard from DMDC, call them at (800) 538-9552.

For more information about TRICARE For Life, visit www.tricare.mil/tfl. You can get information about Medicare Parts A and B on www.medicare.gov.

Send your questions to askthedoc@us.af.mil

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