National Guard Health Insurance: 12 Facts You Need

Let’s face it, medical costs can be outrageous. Every man, woman and child needs to have some type of health insurance. And now with the Affordable Care Act, if a person does not have health insurance, they can be fined.

As a member of the National Guard, a person has access to a top rated health insurance program. That is what we will talk about in today’s post. Here are 12 facts you need about National Guard Health Insurance. If you have any questions about these, or any other National Guard health insurance items, feel free to ask in the comments section at the end of this post. We cannot guarantee you an answer, but we will do our best to find the answer, or to lead you to someone who will have an answer.

1: Who Handles National Guard Health Insurance?

The primary provider for National Guard Health Insurance is Tricare. The majority of National Guard service members utilize Tricare Reserve Select. There are other plans through Tricare also available.

2: Affordable Care Act

The Affordable Care Act which has also been called Obamacare mandates that every American citizen has a certain amount of health coverage. Tricare Reserve Select meets or exceeds the coverage needed to be in compliance with the Affordable Care Act.This way you know that you are completely legal with health care insurance.

Qualifications To Receive Tricare

3: Active Duty

To be eligible to receive Tricare Reserve Select, a service member cannot be on active duty. For those members on active duty, they are eligible for the same health care as any other active duty soldiers. These would be through Tricare Prime.


A Guard member can have their status change quick and often. The National Guard has what is called Transitional Assistance Management Program known as TAMP. This covers a service member and their family for up to 180 days after they are off active duty. To be eligible for Tricare Reserve Select, the service member cannot be receiving the Transitional Assistance Management Program (TAMP).


To be eligible to receive Tricare Reserve Select, the service member cannot be eligible, or enrolled in the Federal Employees Health Benefits program and cannot be covered under the FEHB program through a family member.

Other posts you may enjoy:

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  3. Army 68X MOS Behavioral Health Technician: My Experience Working in an Army Outpatient Clinic

6: What The Member Pays

As I mentioned earlier, the costs of hospitals and doctors has climbed through the roof. While National Guard Health Insurance isn’t free, the costs are really minimal when comparing to what the costs could be if a person had to pay the hospitals or doctors out of pocket. The member has these costs to have Tricare Reserve Select:

  • A monthly premium

  • An annual deductible

  • and cost shares or percentages for covered services.

7: Where To Enroll, And What You Need

If you need health insurance and you are a National Guard or Army Reserve member, you can enroll on line. You will need 1 of the following:

  • CAC known as a Common Access Card

  • DFAS known as a MyPay Account

  • Department Of Defense Premium (Level 2) Log on Account

If you have one of these, you just log in to the DMDC Reserve Component Tricare Application website, and complete your application process. If they do not allow you to print the results, it means you have not completed the application.

8: Coverage

Tricare Reserve Select only cover health and vision services. It does not cover dental or pharmacy services, so the member will need separate coverage for those services.

9: Retired National Guard And Reserve Members

I have discussed a lot about Tricare Reserve Select, but for those service members who have retired, but are still under 60, there is a different National Guard Health insurance just for them. It is called the Tricare Retired Reserve Plan. You can find more information on the Retired Reserve Plan at this link.

10: Tricare Dental And Pharmacy Benefits

I mentioned that Tricare Reserve Select only covers health and vision in #8. Tricare does offer 3 different dental benefit insurances. They are:

  • Tricare Active Duty Dental Program

  • Tricare Dental Program

  • Tricare Retiree Dental Program

There is more information on those here.

Tricare also offers a pharmacy package that can be added to existing coverage. You can find more information on it here.


To be eligible for any of the National Guard Health Insurance programs offered through Tricare, members and all beneficiaries must be registered in the Defense Enrollment Eligibility Reporting System (DEERS). You may also need to update your records in the DEERS system. You can also find more information on that here.

12: Tricare Choices

While I believe I am providing you with good information, the best place to get the correct info is straight from the source. Below, you can download the Tricare Choices For National Guard And Reserve PDF. This PDF explains exact eligibility requirements, what, and how much you and your family members are covered, extended your Tricare coverage after involuntary separation, application procedures, and much more. Just click the link below and download this free PDF.

Final Thoughts

There are many who think they will never get sick, or have an injury who go without health insurance. As far as I am concerned, that is foolish thinking. The United States Government also agrees with that, and that is why the Affordable Care Act was put into effect.

National Guard Health Insurance through Tricare offers some great plans at affordable costs. It only makes good sense to utilize this benefit the National Guard provides its service members. If you are currently not enrolled in the Tricare plan that best fits you and your family’s needs, I highly suggest you get signed up immediately.

Yes, I know it is an extra bill that you probably feel you cannot afford, but can you afford a hefty hospital or doctor bill? I know if it is me, Murphy’s Law would come into play if I let my health insurance go. Maybe Murphy doesn’t attack you the way he does me, but why gamble with your health, well-being and financial stability? Take advantage of this great benefit the National Guard provides and protect you and your family.

chuck holmes

Chuck Holmes
Former Army Major (resigned)

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