Keeping your chompers covered

Jonathan Kaupanger
July 31, 2018 - 2:10 pm

Dreamstime

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Veterans are losing Tricare dental insurance at the end of this year.  Insurance is available to purchase under the Federal Employee Dental and Vision Insurance Program (FEDVIP), but there are a few things you need to know before open enrollment begins in November.

  • Plan details and premium rates won’t be released until October, but you can compare current FEDVIP plans now.  You may use the FEDVIP Eligibility Tool at any time but it is meant for new members to see if they are eligible for FEDVIP.
  • Open enrollment runs November 12 through December 10.  In the past Tricare users could change coverage during the year.  FEDVIP does not allow this.  Future changes are allowed with a qualifying life event like getting married, gaining or losing a family member or losing other dental coverage.
  • Look closely for waiting periods!  If you or a family member is undergoing treatment that will not finish this year, be careful when selecting your 2019 coverage.  Some 2019 plans have a 12-month waiting period or an age limit for orthodontic services.  FEDVIP CARRIERS WILL NOT COVER IN-PROGRESS TREATMENT IF YOU ENROLL IN A FEDVIP PLAN WITH A WAITING PERIOD.  Also pay close attention to the types of service covered.  
  • There’s an extra step to the process if you’re retiring before December 31, 2018.  You’ll need to enroll in Tricare’s Retiree Dental plan now and then select a new FEDVIP plan during open enrollment.
  • If you don’t do anything, you will not be covered. Dental coverage through Tricare will not roll over into another plan on January 1.  If you don’t pick a plan during open enrollment this year, you’ll have to wait for 2019, or one of those qualifying life events.

Veterans may also purchase dental insurance through the VA Dental Insurance Program (VADIP).  Multiple plan options are available through Delta Dental of California and MetLife.  You’re responsible to pay then entire premium in addition to any copays.  Enrollment does not affect eligible veterans entitled to existing outpatient dental services through VA. 

You might be entitled to a one-time course of free dental care from VA, if you’ve recently separated from the military.  You have 180 days (six months) to apply for this benefit from the date of your discharge.  If you experienced dental trauma while on active duty, you may be eligible for lifelong dental care and receive a service connected disability. 

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