30 Day Financial Transition Challenge Day 12: Post Military Health Care

Welcome to Day Twelve of the 30 Day Financial Transition Challenge.  Today’s article focuses on post-military health care.

Bottom Line Up Front (BLUF)

Whether you are eligible for TRICARE or have your own post-military health care, you’ll need to take some time to make sure that you’ve got a solid plan in place.

Why? 

It’s easy to take your military health care benefits for granted.  However, once you separate or retire, it becomes a little more difficult, especially if you’ve never had to go to a civilian health care provider.  You’ll want to make sure you know what medical issues need to be addressed before you depart the pattern, and you’ll want to make sure that your post-military health care supports you and your family during your transition.

Goal

Your goal should be to:

  1. Record where you stand
  2. Research your options
  3. Establish your health care plan

What you need

Nothing.  However, it might help to have quick access to medical information, such as your TRICARE statements or medical records.  Your focus is on establishing a plan, not to solve every problem today.

How-to

Today, you’ll go through these questions, which will help you formulate your post-military health care plan.  Make sure you carve out enough time to take advantage of the VA’s resources while you’re still on active duty.  We will focus on your VA disability benefits later, but today you should at least consider whether the VA might be a part of your health care plan.

  1. Do you have significant health issues or existing health concerns?
  2. How much time do you have left? Do you have time for major surgeries (plus rehab)?
  3. Record ‘to-do’ items based on what will have to occur after you leave active duty.
  4. Research health insurance options.
  • Are you staying with Tricare?
  • Are you eligible for employer-funded insurance? If so, which makes sense?
  • Are you eligible for a health savings account with your new employer?  Do you need to learn about what health savings accounts are?
  1. Research dental insurance options.
  • Are you staying with military? Dental insurance is expensive.  Keep this in mind.
  • Are you eligible for employer-funded insurance? If so, which makes sense?
  • Orthodontics?
  • Do you have a contingency plan in case you don’t get your ‘ideal’ job? Or any job?
  1. Is the VA an option?
  • Definitely take the time to take your physical seriously.
  • Are you eligible for monitoring?  For example, there’s a VA-monitored Burn Pit Registry for people exposed to smoke from burn pits during deployments.  Even though there might not be immediate benefits, future research might indicate changes in benefits, ratings, or disability payouts.  Take time to research this.
  • Definitely research disability options (coordinate with insurance planning)
  • Do you need to research VA care options?

Conclusion

To wrap up, today you’re going to:

  • Figure out where you stand, medically speaking
  • Familiarize yourself with your post-military health care options
  • Start to develop your health care plan

Tomorrow, we’ll discuss your after-tax investment accounts.  Building upon the work that you did in Day 11, you’ll be able to complete the investment picture.  This will allow you to take the necessary steps in making sure your investment actions match your investment philosophy.

 

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About Forrest Baumhover

Forrest Baumhover is a Certified Financial Planner™ and tax professional. His firm, Westchase Financial Planning, focuses on the unique financial planning needs of servicemembers and families looking to separate or retire from active duty.If you’d like to learn more about Forrest or his services, please check out the About Forrest page at the top of this article.
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2 Responses to 30 Day Financial Transition Challenge Day 12: Post Military Health Care

  1. Pingback: 30 Day Financial Transition Challenge Day 11: Retirement Accounts

  2. Pingback: 30 Day Financial Transition Challenge Day 19: VA Disability

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