In 2019, the Tricare Retiree Dental Program (TRDP) closed its doors and military retirees and their qualified dependents were transitioned to the Federal Employees Dental and Vision Insurance Program (FEDVIP). Closing the TRDP allowed the government to streamline operations while also providing military retirees and their families with a greater number of dental providers to choose from. Of course, military retirees are also able to obtain dental or vision insurance through their civilian employer if offered or pay for their dental costs directly.
Military retirees and families are now eligible to purchase any of the dental plans offered through the FEDVIP program.
With this change comes new enrollment rules – you will no longer be able to opt-in and out of the program at any time. Changes to FEDVIP coverage are only allowed during the annual Federal Benefits Open Season each fall, and if you have a FEDVIP qualifying life event that would necessitate a change in coverage.
You’ll have to enroll in the FEDVIP program during the open season fall if you want to have dental coverage for the following year. The 2020 Tricare Open Season will run from November 9, 2020, to Monday, December 14, 2020. During this time, you will make selections for your coverage during 2019.
FEDVIP has a wide variety of plans from which to choose. Each plan has a different cost and provides different benefits. So you’ll have to do some reading and thinking to find out which plan might be right for you.
If you are working after military retirement, you may have the opportunity to purchase a dental plan with your private employer picking up a portion of the dental costs. For those who want dental insurance, you will want to carefully compare the costs and benefits of any private employer-sponsored plan with the cost of other options, including the plans offered through FEDVIP. If your employer is heavily subsidizing dental insurance purchase through work, then it might be a great choice for you instead of FEDVIP.
Plans Offered Through The FEDVIP Program
For most retirees, the two hardest parts about the switch from the TRDP to the FEDVIP program will be the new open season model and choosing between the many FEDVIP options.
Depending on your zip code, you may have more than a dozen plans to choose from. Each plan has a different premium and has different coverages, deductibles, co-pays, and plan maximums. Importantly for those transitioning from the TRDP to the FEDVIP plan, some FEDVIP plans have a waiting period for orthodontia, though some plans are making exceptions for those moving directly from the TRDP.
FEDVIP Dental Programs
FEDVIP offers a variety of dental plans to choose from. While many plans are available nationwide, or even internationally, some plans are only available regionally or in certain zip codes. You can visit the BeneFeds website for a full rundown and comparison of the available options. But here is a quick overview:
National & International Availability
- Aetna® Dental
- Blue Cross Blue Shield® FEP Dental?
- Delta Dental®
- GEHA® Connection Dental Federal
- MetLife® Federal Dental Plan
- United Concordia® Dental
- UnitedHealthcare® Dental
- Dominion® National Dental
- EmblemHealth® Dental
- HealthPartners® Dental
- Humana® Dental
- Triple-S Salud®
Example: MetLife’s FEDVIP Options
MetLife offers two plans through the FEDVIP program, with two tiers of benefits to meet the needs of military retirees switching from the TRDP program.
Both plans offer:
- Child and adult orthodontic coverage
- No waiting period
- No cost-share on preventative services such as cleanings and exams
- No deductible for in-network services
- No out-of-pocket costs for in-network cleanings, X-rays and exams
- Higher annual and lifetime plan maximums
- One of the nation’s largest networks, with over 393,000 dentists nationwide
- Transition services: Any treatment started with TRDP will be covered by your MetLife plan option including root canal, crowns, bridgework, dentures, orthodontia services (except for adult orthodontic under the standard plan )
In addition, the HIGH option includes 70% coverage on orthodontics, with an incredible $5,000 total coverage on child orthodontics and $3,000 on adult orthodontics, plus no annual maximum benefit amount.
You can learn more about the MetLife FEDVIP plan here.
Which Dental Insurance Option Should You Choose?
There is no single right answer for everyone, and every person probably has a couple of choices that would be good for them. The most important thing is that you have to take action during the Federal Benefits Open Season if you want to have FEDVIP dental coverage.