Learn About Health Insurance Options for Veterans

Military health insurance frequently asked questions.

Is health insurance provided for free in the military?

Active duty service members are covered by TRICARE, the Department of Defense’s health insurance program. They pay no premiums for coverage and have no out-of-pocket expenses for medical services or medicines.


All other TRICARE beneficiaries (e.g., family members, reserves, and retirees) may be required to pay enrollment fees, annual deductibles, cost-shares, and copayments while visiting a doctor or receiving other treatments. What medical insurance does the military use? The Department of Defense (DOD) maintains its own health insurance program called TRICARE, which serves almost 10 million current and retired military members, as well as dependant beneficiaries.

Do I have TRICARE eligibility?

Current uniformed service personnel and their families are eligible for military health care coverage under one or more TRICARE plans, many of which also covers National Guard/Reserve members, retired service members, and their families. Separated servicemembers are normally ineligible for this program, with the exception of any veteran who has received a Medal of Honor. They are, nevertheless, entitled to a wide range of medical care through the VA health system.

Is there decent health insurance in the military?

Yes. TRICARE provides comprehensive coverage and high-quality treatment. While there are charges for beneficiaries who are not on active service, the overall cost is modest when compared to the majority of civilian health plans.

In addition, for retirees with Medicare Parts A and B, TRICARE for Life provides free Medicare wraparound coverage.


Does TRICARE meet the Affordable Care Act’s criteria for minimum essential coverage?

Yes. The condition is met by all TRICARE plans offered by the Department of Defense. Furthermore, service veterans enrolling in VA health care meet the Affordable Care Act’s coverage standards (ACA).