DEERS & ID Cards
For all personnel, no matter the branch of service or duty station CONUS or OCONUS, the most important first step has to be ensuring current, accurate enrolment in the DEERS system.
Absolutely NOTHING can take place without submitting a CURRENT DD Form 137-5 form and receiving a favorable DD Form 1172, APPLICATION FOR UNIFORMED SERVICES IDENTIFICATION CARD DEERS ENROLLMENT and a current ID Card. This must be the FIRST thing accomplished before any changes in duty occur. Whether it is for Mobility prior to AD/TDY Deployment for part time service members or a PCS change for AD members, nothing can happen without these documents being obtained by the service member (Sponsor) and their dependants.
If you are obtaining an ID card for a Dependent 21 years old or older start at LEAST 90 days ahead of the expiration date on your Dependent’s card. DD Form 137-5 can take several days for parents/guardians to complete and require a large amount of supporting documentation. Completed forms MUST be sent to your assigned DFAS location for processing before a formal Favorable Dependency Determination letter can be issued and mailed to you. This letter is then submitted to your local Pass and ID office for issuance of an ID card.
Active Duty and retired members are automatically registered in DEERS, but they must take action to register their family members and ensure they are correctly entered into the database. Failure to enroll or mistakes in the database that are left unaddressed can cause a Denial of TriCare benefits. It is critical to maintain correct and updated DD Form 137-5 and all required DEERS information.
Updating your DEERS information is a simple process. The service member may contact the TriCare managed support coordinator in their Region, the local TriCare Service Support Center or the nearest ID card facility. Only a sponsor can add, delete or change a family member's status on DEERS, and proper documentation such as a marriage certificate, birth certificate, divorce decree or an incapacitation order is required.
*Note: If an incapacitated dependent/family member needs an ID card or enrollment in DEERS the Member MUST obtain a CURRENT Form 1172 letter, and a statement of Medical Sufficiency from the dependent's PCM. These letters or statements MUST be no more than 90 days old. For an explaination and basic outline See SNRPs September 2009 Newsletter Medical Sufficiency Letters Simplified.
TriCare Recommends the Following DEERS Action:
- Each family member's record must be updated separately when changes occur.
- Marriages, deaths, births, divorces or incapacitations/dependency determinations (see Dependency Determination subsection) that occur must be reported to DEERS so eligibility can start or stop as per DoD and Branch of Service regulations.
- If you are active duty and re-enlist, a Reservist/National guardsman going on Active Duty orders, separate, retire or move, make sure your information is updated in a timely manner. This will prevent gaps in coverage that can result in a break in insurance coverage. Update DEERS FIRST.
- As soon as you re-enlist (or have a copy of your Active Duty orders for Res/NG) take your paperwork to your ID card facility to ensure DEERS information is updated. Don't wait for your paperwork to "go through the system". Prevent lapses, hand carry your paperwork to your closest ID Card center and update your records as soon as possible. (*Note: It is important to hand carry all original Dependency Determination documents to your local personnel office any time you need to enroll in the DEERS system or when you PCS. It is not unusual to have to re-prove an incapacitation status for a dependant. Linda recommends keeping all original Dependency Determination forms (From 1172) medical letters, court documents and other supporting documentation in a binder. Take this binder with you when making changes or in-processing after making a PCS move. Be sure to get the originals back from clerical staff when they are finished entering the data into their computer system. Remember."If it isn't on paper it didn't happen!")
- Be sure to update any address changes you may have, as this address is where all TriCare information, including EOBs, will be sent.
- If you are not using a Base pharmacy be aware that retail pharmacies off Base are required to check eligibility through DEERS. Your prescriptions will be filled only if you are in the system. Otherwise, you will have to pay full price. You may not always be able to submit the bill for a reimbursement.
- If you have a child over 18 who is incapacitated you will need to file a copy of your court order with TriCare, allowing you to manage any medical claims they may have.
- If you have a child over age 21 who is a full time student, be sure to update his/her student status with both DEERS and TriCare to ensure eligibility is not interrupted, keeping their access to health care intact.