Military Retiree Dental Insurance Program Through FEDVIP – What You Need to Know

Military retirees are eligible for the Federal Employees Dental and Vision Insurance Program (FEDVIP), giving them many dental insurance plans to choose from.
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FEDVIP - Military Retiree Dental Insurance

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 Retiree Dental Insurance Program

What Changed

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 Dental Insurance Open Enrollment

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.

Employer-Sponsored Options

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

Regional Availability

  • 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.

Get started researching your options now on Tricare.benefeds.com so you will be prepared to sign up when Open Season begins on November 9, 2020. Enroll in FEDVIP at BENEFEDS.com.

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About Ryan Guina

Ryan Guina is The Military Wallet's founder. He is a writer, small business owner, and entrepreneur. He served over six years on active duty in the USAF and is a current member of the Illinois Air National Guard.

Ryan started The Military Wallet in 2007 after separating from active duty military service and has been writing about financial, small business, and military benefits topics since then. He also writes about personal finance and investing at Cash Money Life.

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  1. Janice Millikan Angel says

    I think it would be so helpful to those of us who want to stay with out dentist to have a way to find out if the office we go to is a provider. Dentists are no all the same, actually quite the opposite. We should not have to bother our dentist to find out which plans they are attached to. Simplify the process!!

  2. William Stose says

    Living in the NE and having to switch from FEDVIP to a higher deduction per month and lesser coverage is a real kick in he teeth for Retired Military. As times go on with people like Trump in office they are cutting and cutting every chance they get! They would rather pay nothing for military and civilian health and dental whether you can afford it or not. The Republicans only take care of the rich!

  3. Rebecca Elliott says

    My Husband is retired Army and we had Delta Dental for many years. We signed up for United Concordia, the more expensive plan, and made the mistake of assuming that we would not have to read the fine print as to their coverage for crowns. Our dentist appealed their determination but their policy language only covers crowns if : “such a significant loss of tooth structure that the tooth cannot be adequately restored using a direct restoration….”
    If you want coverage for crowns similar to Delta Dental, stay away from United Concordia Dental, can’t wait til it is open season again so we can drop them!

  4. Barbara Calkins says

    I need 2018 expenses for income tax This is for my husband and myself. He is Ron Calkins and I am Barbara Calkins. We are now signed up with Aetna Dental but I need the figures for 2018. Could not get them by calling and having them mailed as in the past. We are retired military and have been with Delta Dental in California for a number of years. Please tell me what to do.

  5. Eleanor Wilson says

    How do I find actual benefits with this insurance. Have no idea. Have had delta dental plan for many years but this is a mystery to me

    • Ryan Guina says

      Patrick, you should receive confirmation from your new dental care provider. Most companies send out written confirmation within 1-2 weeks. You can contact your company for more information regarding when you will receive your confirmation and other paperwork.

  6. Gina Buffaloe says

    Terrible. Now I can no longer have the option to have two dental plans and my out of pocket costs go through the roof.

  7. Michelle Wadkins says

    We have always had dual family insurance enrollments. With this happening we can not have it.

    Why are OPM guidelines (for civilians) governing Military retirements? This is not a good practice.

    With the premiums we pay and out of pocket expenses not having this will be detrimental to our getting the care we needs due to the costs we will incur. Especially if we have to place a parent on the plan due to getting guardianship.

    What other benefits will the government take from retirees?

    • Ryan Guina says

      Hello Michelle, I recommend contacting the FEDVIP program and speaking with their customer service department to get an overview of how this will work in your situation. They will be able to provide a response customized to your specific needs. I wish you the best, and thank you for your service!

  8. Joe says

    It turns out that my lack of a dental plan is cheaper than any plan I have looked at. I get one visit a year pay a less than $100 for the visit. I haven’t needed any major work since graduating from college. I haven’t had any work for many years and only have a yearly visit. I cannot believe that this is the way to go for anyone who takes care of their teeth. I am now 80 years old and doubt that I have spent over $1000 for dental work. My children and their children take care of their teeth and have the same great results that I and my wife have been fortunate to have.

    Good luck and hopefully, your plans will save thousands who are not used to taking care of their teeth.

    • Ryan Guina says

      Great feedback, Joe! Yes, self-insuring is an affordable option for many people. But some people still need additional care, even when they take care of their teeth. It’s great if you can get by with an annual exam and cleaning. If that is the case, you can probably pay cash each year and be done with it. Even if something pops up every few years, it may be less expensive than paying monthly premiums. But some people need more extensive dental care, especially if they have children or need orthodontics. So they would most likely be better off with an insurance plan. That is why it is always important to run the numbers and see what is best for your situation.

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