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The LaMaster Law Firm Blog

Saturday, September 29, 2018

5 Things to Know About the Military’s New Retiree Dental Coverage

Members of the United States military must often sacrifice a lot when it comes to balancing their families with their jobs. However, soon enough, one sacrifice that they will no longer have to make is their ability to provide their families with affordable healthcare solutions, specifically dental and vision coverage.

Military families who are currently covered under a TRICARE health plan will be eligible to register for vision coverage through the Federal Employees Dental and Vision Insurance Program (FEDVIP) for the 2019 benefits plan year. The TRICARE Retiree Dental Program will come to an end on the last day of 2018.

1. Plans must be chosen during the open enrollment period this year.

Those who are currently enrolled with TRICARE will not automatically be enrolled in FEDVIP. They must enroll during “open season.” Open Season for coverage (Nov. 12 – Dec. 10) is the time period during which one may enroll in vision coverage, while actual coverage is set to begin on Jan. 1, 2019 and run through Dec. 31, 2019. The new plan will replace the Defense Health Agency’s current TRICARE Retiree Dental Program.

2. Except for open enrollment, future changes require a qualifying life event.

Aside from open enrollment, an individual will only be capable of making a change to his or her plan if they experience what is referred to as a “qualifying life event.” These events include things such as moving, changing jobs, or having a child. A full list of life events that qualify are listed on the FEDVIP website.

 3. You must enroll in order to have coverage (you can begin comparing plans)

As mentioned, individuals will not automatically be enrolled in FEDVIP, but must do so during open season. You can get a head start regarding the information available online. However, the system’s annual enrollment fees and changes will not be updated and released until October. Before then you can gauge pricing but in the fall you can see exact numbers.  

 4. If you are retiring prior to Dec. 31, 2018 then you have one extra step.

For individuals who are retiring prior to Dec. 31, 2018 (the last day of TRICARE) but you still want dental coverage, you must enroll in TRICARE’s Retiree Dental Plan, prior to selecting a new plan during open enrollment.

 5. Take into consideration any waiting periods for various plans.

What some people may not notice is that certain plans have waiting periods – often a year – before they will officially cover orthodontics or any other major dental work. Therefore, if you or anyone in your family is currently receiving orthodontic care through TRICARE’s Retiree Dental plan, or you or any family members are expecting to need major dental work between Dec. 31, 2018 and Dec. 31, 2019, it is extremely important to take note of any waiting period.


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