Health and Life Insurance
Health Insurance Planning
Before you leave active duty, you need to arrange for health insurance to protect
yourself and your family. Most people leaving government service obtain civilian
jobs that provide health insurance. Sometimes, however, there is a gap between
when your military coverage ends and your new employer's coverage begins. For
specific health insurance questions, call the Health Benefits Advisor at your
military medical treatment facility.
Health "Check-up" Before You Leave
There is no longer a requirement for military personnel
to undergo medical exams or sign waivers in conjunction with transition, except
for retirees and certain discharges. The Department of Veterans Affairs strongly
suggests you request and receive a separation physical with medical documentation.
Physicals should be arranged in the four-month window before separation since
this will establish a basis for any future disability claims.
Within 90 days of discharge or separation from the service,
the VA provides one-time dental care for veterans who were not provided a dental
examination or treatment. The time limit does not apply to veterans with dental
disabilities resulting from combat wounds or service injuries. If you are unable
to obtain a dental examination prior to separation, ask the dental clinic staff
to annotate your dental records. Your servicing transition center will then
annotate your DD Form 214, and the VA will provide one-time dental care, if
you apply within 90 days after your separation date.
your records and those of your family members belong to the U.S. Government.
Before you leave your installation, visit the patient assistance or patient
advocate office at the hospital or clinic and ask for your medical and dental
records so that you can make copies. We recommend that you make two personal
sets of all medical and dental records for yourself and your family members.
These records will provide useful background information to the health care
professionals who will assist you in your upcoming civilian life.
Transitional Health Care
Your eligibility to continue to receive government-sponsored health care is
determined by the nature of your separation.
If you separate voluntarily, you and your family are
not eligible to use military treatment facilities or the TRICARE health care
plan. However, you may purchase extended transitional health care insurance,
for up to 18 months of coverage, through the Continued Health Care Benefit
Program (CHCBP). You have 60 days after separation to enroll in CHCBP. Your
coverage will start the day after your separation. See your Health Benefits
Advisor for more specific information.
Eligible Involuntary Separation:
You and your family are authorized to use
military treatment facilities for a period of 60 days (if you served fewer
than six years) or 120 days (if you served six years or more). During this
period of transitional health care, you will have the same priority as family
members of active duty personnel. After this 60-/120-day period, you and your
family are no longer eligible to use military treatment facilities or the TRICARE
health care plan. However, you may purchase extended transitional health care
insurance, through the Continued Health Care Benefit Program (CHCBP), for up
to 18 months of coverage. You have 60 days after your initial transitional
health care ends to purchase CHCBP. See your Health Benefits Advisor for specific
Continued Health Care Benefit Program (CHCBP)
Under the CHCBP program, separating military personnel may purchase temporary,
TRICARE-like transitional medical coverage for three months at a time, for
up to 18 months total. The CHCBP program covers pre-existing conditions. DoD
uses a civilian third-party administrator to provide information, marketing
and administrative support. You have 60 days after your initial transitional
health care ends to purchase CHCBP. To request an application, obtain premium
rates and get more information, visit the CHCPB website at http://www.tricare.osd.mil/chcbp/.
Veterans Group Life Insurance (VGLI)
Service member's Group Life Insurance (SGLI) will continue to cover you for
the first 120 days after your separation, just as if you were still in uniform.
After this coverage ends, you must make your own arrangements for life insurance.
One option offered by the Department of Veterans Affairs is Veterans Group
Life Insurance (VGLI). Shortly after your discharge from active duty, you will
be given the opportunity to convert your SGLI to VGLI. All service members
are eligible for the SGLI to VGLI conversion. You can obtain coverage in increments
of $10,000, up to the amount of your SGLI but not to exceed $400,000. You can
make the conversion up to 120 days after your separation. The insurance becomes
effective on the 121st day.
VGLI is five-year, renewable term insurance. That is, you can renew your VGLI
policy every five years. At the end of the fifth year, you are guaranteed to
convert your policy to a commercial insurer, regardless of your health, or
renew your policy for another five-year period. This is important, since many
insurers will not cover you if you have a pre-existing condition.
The VA will send the conversion form and information to you within 30 days after
your separation. If you do not receive it, call the VA toll free number, 1-800-419-1473.
The Office of Servicemember's Group Life Insurance administers the VGLI program.
You can also write for more information
Office of Servicemembers' Group Life Insurance
290 West Mt. Pleasant Avenue
Livingston, New Jersey 07039
New VGLI Applications and VGLI Reinstatements:
Office of Servicemembers' Group Life Insurance
P.O. Box 41618
Philadelphia, PA 19176-9913
Readjustment Counseling Services
VA offers Readjustment Counseling Services through local Vet Center offices
in your state. Professional services include counseling, outreach to special
populations and brokering of services with community agencies. For more information
or assistance, visit the RCS website at http://www.va.gov/rcs.
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