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Health and Life Insurance

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
Separation Physical:
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.

Dental Examination:
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.

Medical/Dental Records:
Remember, 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.

Voluntary 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 information.

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

General Correspondence:

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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Untitled Document
Transition Assistance

Preseparation Timeline

Effects of a Career Change

Employment Assistance

Relocation Assistance

Education/Training

Health and Life Insurance

Finances

Reserve Affiliation

Veterans Benefits Briefing

Disabled Veterans Benefits

Post Government (Military) Service Employment Restriction Counseling

Retiring Soldier