TRICARE Toolkit: TRICARE for Guard and Reserve

TRICARE Toolkit: TRICARE for Guard and Reserve
A soldier with the 85th U.S. Army Reserve Support Command’s 3-360th Training Support Battalion observes a soldier from the National Guard’s 268th Military Police Company load ammunition into an M240 machine gun during a range training exercise at Fort Bliss, Texas, in February 2022. (Photo by Staff Sgt. David Lietz/Army Reserve)

BCBS_FEPDental_Stacked_Color-300.pngMOAA’s TRICARE Toolkit provides insight and tips for navigating your TRICARE benefits. Have a question or suggestion for an upcoming column? Email This toolkit entry, which was last updated in March 2024 to reflect 2024 rates, is sponsored by BlueCross BlueShield FEP Dental; see other TRICARE Toolkit columns at


Guard and Reserve (G/R) servicemembers encounter many of the same benefit challenges their active duty counterparts face. However, when it comes to health care, their choices can be a bit more complicated than choosing between TRICARE Prime and Select (P/S).


When activated for more than 30 days, G/R members and their families become eligible for all TRICARE programs. Costs for each of these programs follow the costs for active duty servicemembers and their families.


While serving as a drilling G/R member — and not covered by the Federal Employee Health Benefit (FEHB) program — members and their families are eligible for TRICARE Reserve Select (TRS) and TRICARE Young Adult (TYA). Members in the Individual Ready Reserve (including Navy Reserve Voluntary Training Units) do not qualify to purchase TRS.


TRS costs, while higher than TRICARE P/S, are significantly lower than the average employer provided health care plan.


[PDF DOWNLOAD: TRICARE Choices for National Guard and Reserve]


In addition to the monthly premiums and annual deductible, TRS enrollees will incur coinsurance payments for health care services after the deductible has been met. Enrollment fees, annual deductible, and copays apply to the catastrophic cap; monthly premiums do not.


Gray Area retirees (GARs) are G/R members who are qualified for retired pay and have retired from their service (stopped drilling) but are not yet eligible for retired pay. GARs may be eligible for retired pay prior to reaching age 60, but TRICARE P/S eligibility is not attained until the G/R member reaches age 60 and retirement processing has been completed by service and pay agency (DFAS or CG) and is reflected in the Defense Enrollment Eligibility Reporting System.


GARs without an employer-provided health care plan have TRICARE Retired Reserve (TRR) as an option until reaching age 60. TRR is not cheap, but it is likely less expensive than finding a plan on the government or open market exchanges.


G/R retirees and their spouses remain eligible for TRICARE P/S programs until individually reaching age 65 when they “age out” of TRICARE and must enroll in Medicare. Like active-duty retirees, upon enrolling in Medicare Parts A and B beneficiaries are eligible for TRICARE for Life (TFL).


Plan Costs

2024 TRICARE Reserve Select

  • Enrollment fee/premiums: $51.95/month individual; $256.87/month family
  • Annual deductible, E-1 to E-4: $62 individual; $125 family
  • Annual deductible, E-5 and above: $188 individual; $377 family


2024 TRICARE Retired Reserve

  • Enrollment fee/premiums: $585.24/month individual; $1,406.22/month family
  • Annual deductible (network): $188 individual; $377 family


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About the Author

Capt. Paul J. Frost, AFC®, USN (Ret)
Capt. Paul J. Frost, AFC®, USN (Ret)

Frost co-leads MOAA's Financial and Benefits Education program and is also an accredited Veteran Service Officer (VSO), providing VA disability compensation claim and appeal information and advice to the military community.