How to Get TRICARE Prime for a Spouse

Enrolling your husband or wife in TRICARE Prime will give him or her access to the most comprehensive health coverage plan under the Department of Defense.  There are two steps to add your spouse as a TRICARE beneficiary:  1) update your DEERS information, and 2) apply for TRICARE Prime.  Keep in mind that updating DEERS alone won’t get a person covered under Prime.  Enrollment is required or else your spouse will be covered under TRICARE Standard instead.


1. Adding a Spouse to Your DEERS Information

DEERS or Defense Enrollment Eligibility Reporting System is a computerized database that keeps track of all eligible beneficiaries of TRICARE and other DoD benefits.  Before your spouse can apply for TRICARE Prime, you must add him or her as a dependent in the DEERS database.

To add your spouse as a dependent:

  1. Visit the nearest military ID card-issuing facility with your new spouse.
  2. Present a copy of your marriage certificate and any two acceptable ID’s of your spouse.
  3. Fill out DD Form 1172-2, Application for Identification Card/DEERS Enrollment

Acceptable means of identification for the spouse include:

  • Birth certificate
  • Social Security card
  • Military ID card
  • Common Access Card (CAC)

After registration, your spouse will receive a new military identification card and will be eligible for TRICARE.  However you will need to take the extra step below to enroll him or her in TRICARE Prime; otherwise your spouse will be on the TRICARE Standard and Extra program.

2. Applying a Spouse for TRICARE Prime Benefits

To enroll your spouse in TRICARE Prime:

  1. Get the DoD Form 2876, TRICARE Prime Enrollment Application & PCM Change from your TRICARE regional contractor or a local TRICARE Service Center.
  2. Fill out the application form and mail it to your TRICARE regional contractor.

Note: If you obtained the application form from your TRICARE regional contractor’s website, the PDF file should have the contractor’s mailing address in it.   You can also contact them to request the form.

Once approved, you will receive a TRICARE Prime enrollment card and a letter with details about your primary care manager (PCM).  Write your PCM name and phone number on the card.  You will need it to use your benefits.

Effective Date of TRICARE Prime Coverage

The beginning date of your spouse’s TRICARE Prime coverage will depend on when your TRICARE regional contractor receives your spouse’s application.

  • If the application is received on or before the 20th of the month, coverage will begin on the 1st of the following month.
  • If the application is received after the 20th of the month, coverage will begin on the 1st of the month after the following month.

Example 1: Application received on January 20.  Effective date is February 1.

Example 2: Application received on January 21.  Effective date is March 1.

Important Reminders

  • Make sure your spouse’s name in the TRICARE application form matches what is in DEERS.
  • Enrollment in TRICARE Prime is not automatic.
  • Contact your TRICARE regional contractor for help with enrollment.
  • TRICARE Prime enrollment is not retroactive.
  • If you pay an enrollment fee to be on TRICARE Prime, your fee will be upgraded from individual to family rate when you add your spouse.
  • You can manage your TRICARE Prime account online by going to the Beneficiary Web Enrollment website at